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Top Red Wine Drinkers? French, Italians? Try Chinese

Cheers! The Chinese are choosing Chianti over Chardonnay.

China has topped the traditional wine-producing countries of France and Italy to become the world's biggest consumer of red wine, according to a study by International Wine & Spirit Research commissioned by Vinexpo.

Chinese downed 1.865 billion bottles of red wine last year, contributing to a 136 percent rise in consumption over the past five years, the survey showed. The U.S. remained the world's biggest consumer of all types of wines.

Analysts say red is viewed as a lucky color in China, so it helps explain a preference for full-bodied reds over crisp white wines.

The latest data on red wine consumption shows that China has pushed traditional wine-drinking countries France and Italy into second and third place respectively. China consumed 155 million cases of red wine in 2013, while France downed 150 million cases and Italy polished off 141 million cases.