Maybe it’s the recent 4th of July holiday that has me feeling patriotic, but I figured it would be a good opportunity to talk about the U.S. wine landscape.
It’s been a well-established fact for a while now that all 50 states make wine in one form or another, but where that wine is being made might actually surprise you. According to tracking by Wines & Vines, the U.S. is currently producing about 350 million cases of wine a year. The site also produced the following helpful graph:
The numbers I pulled directly from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau from 2014 are roughly the same, though in that year, the total wine production of the U.S. was clocked at just over 370 million cases.
Of that, the nearly 3,700 wineries in California produced about 85% of the wine in the U.S. (just around 315 million cases) thanks to powerhouses like Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County.
First runner up is New York, which has just over 300 wineries, but produced over 4% of the total wine in the U.S. last year. That slightly edged out its West Coast rival, Washington State, by about half a million gallons, despite the fact that Washington is home to about twice as many wineries.
Rounding out the top five are Oregon, and, here’s a shocker, Pennsylvania, which beat out one of the other habitués on this list, Texas. So that’s a trend to watch.
Now for the flip side of the numbers. I already told you how the U.S. has recently become the world’s top wine-consuming country, by volume if not per capita. Here’s where people are actually drinking that wine according to a study last year by Business Insider based on drinking trends from 2013.
You might figure that the places that produce the wine also consume most of it, but that’s actually not the case. Leading the pack with a per-capita consumption of 25.7 liters annually was Washington, D.C. That’s nearly 6 more liters per person than the next-closest population, New Hampshire. Rounding out the top five are Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey, so clearly those Northeasterners love their wine.
California was actually eight on the list with a per-capita consumption of 14 liters (tied with Rhode Island), and just above Washington, Oregon and New York.
The bottom five states are Kentucky (must be all that bourbon), Utah (no explanation necessary, I think), Kansas, Mississippi and West Virginia, all of which clock in at under four liters per person per year. That’s just under five and a half bottles.
Call me overly nationalistic, but when we’ve got a booming domestic wine industry to support, that just seems downright unpatriotic. So you’ve got until the next 4th of July to get those numbers up!