French wine exports to China are set to soar this year, according to local reports.

The Xinhua News Agency cited the French Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Dominique Bussereau as saying that exports this year should beat 2005 by 60%, coming in at around US$100m in value terms. The Minister said that almost one third of China's total wine imports this year will come from France alone.

The report yesterday (16 November) said that China is now France's largest wine export market in Asia, having overtaken Japan.

China and France have joined forces, with the recently-opened Sino-French winery in Hebei Province in the north of the country. The facility will produce high-end wines, the agency said, with a bottle of wine from the winery costing around CNY1,000 (US$125).

China's per capita wine consumption per year is a lowly 0.3 litres, 6% of the world average.