Who in the World is Drinking all the Wine?

2013 was a historic year. There was a government shutdown. We got a new royal baby and a new Pope. The Defense of Marriage Act was struck down. Twitter went public…

And it was the year that the United States officially became the biggest wine-consuming country on earth. The International Organization of Wine and Vine reported in May of 2014 that U.S. consumers bought the most wine of any country in the world in 2013: a total of 29.1 million hectoliters. Oh right, sorry, that’s about 770 million gallons for us ‘mericans, or 3.87 billion bottles.

Zach Galifianakis has the right idea.

Zach Galifianakis has the right idea.

Meanwhile, France, the country that formerly held the title of biggest wine consumer, saw its consumption fall to a mere 28.1 hectoliters, or 740 million gallons.

At this point, I think it’s pertinent to mention that, while the U.S. has upwards of 300 million inhabitants, France has about 65 million. So per capita, the French are still drinking us under the table. Sacré bleu!

Rounding out the top five wine-consuming countries in terms of absolute volume were Italy, Germany and China in that order.

To be honest, other organizations including the Wine Institute representing California winegrowers have put U.S. consumption well ahead of the pack since as far back as 2010, so the rankings really depend on the metrics at hand. However, what is clear is that U.S. wine consumption has been on the rise for a few years now and looks to keep growing, as does its wine production (but I’ll save that for another post).

What’s even more fascinating are the per-capita wine consumption numbers. By those data, the most recent of which date to 2011, the French outdrink us Americans by six to one. However, in a curious twist, the smallest nation in the world actually has the highest per-capita consumption. That’s right, Vatican City residents consumed, on average, 62.1 liters of wine per year. That works out to about 83 bottles per person, or 1.6 bottles per week. That’s a lot of communion wine!

Vatican City's got us all beat!

Vatican City’s got us all beat!

That same year, the French drank 45.5 liters each and Americans drank a paltry 10.5 liters each. In other words, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but the momentum in our favor. So do your part, buy a bottle of wine today and keep the good old U.S. of A. on top!

Oh, and if you do head to the local bottle shop and pick something up, I want to hear about it, so Tweet me @clustercrush!

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