China is one of the superpowers of the world, known for its mundane manufacturing of materials like steel, concrete, iron and fertilizer. On a more exciting and less discussed note, they are also a huge producer of rice wine, an alcoholic beverage fermented from rice that is similar to that of Japan’s ‘sake’. Although called a wine, rice wine doesn’t technically meet the standards of being classified as a true wine because it is not fermented from fruit. China does, however, still produce true table wine - it just isn’t consumed as much as grape wine is. Around 80% of the grapes grown in the country are for red wine, often served chilled in China. Many of their laws surrounding wine are quite loose, meaning you can find products labelled as ‘wine’ for sale that are derived from juice concentrate and mixed grain spirits - try selling that in France! As of 2003 though the Chinese government has implemented regulations regarding the use of additives, artificial sweeteners, and thickening agents. This has helped advance the quality of Chinese wine and allowed growers to focus their attention to the quality of their viniculture output. Wine producers can often be found in prominent wine regions like Ningxia and Shandong growing red grapes for cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet gernischt (similar to cabernet franc and carménère). According to archaeological evidence, it is thought that China began growing grapes for wine almost 4,600 years ago. Wine culture hasn’t always been significant to Chinese but recent developments and investments in production have helped shift the focus to quality over quantity. In 2013, partly with help from its large population, China consumed more red wine than any other country in the world (including prominent wine drinkers like the Italians and French).
1.393 billion (2018)
9.597 million sq km (3.705 million sq mi)