From the AFP:

US consumers were the world's top wine drinkers in 2011, while China displaced Britain to become the fifth largest wine consumer, according to new research released on Thursday.

US consumers downed the equivalent of 3.7 billion bottles of wine, while China including Hong Kong drank 1.9 billion bottles, according to data released by trade show Vinexpo and International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR).

Old World wine drinkers in Italy, France and Germany clung to second, third and fourth places respectively but the New World and the Far East caught the limelight, showed the study of 114 consumer markets and 28 producer countries.

"China is fascinating certainly," said Robert Beynat, CEO of Vinexpo, whose upcoming show in Hong Kong is sold out. "But don't forget about America. America is and will remain the main market in the world in terms of value and volume."

The IWSR study predicts US wine consumption to grow 10 percent between 2011 and 2015. During the same period, it forecasts growth of 54.3 percent for the combined China-Hong Kong market.

For more, see: US is biggest wine consumer, China joins top five