A Few Surprises in the Latest Wine Data

The most recent data on wine growing, making and consumption has recently been issued. This data is a five-year rolling average; the most recent data is for the 2004-2008 period. Data is released every other year. Most of this data, except where noted, is from the Beverage Institute as well as the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the US Department of the Treasury.

These wine statistics are carefully scrutinized by many in the trade. Market decisions are made based on this data and national pride is at stake.

Per Capita Consumption Overall, wine consumption is up 3.5% across the globe - from 6.255 billion gallons to 6.472 billion gallons per year. Per capita consumption does not take into account drinking age.

However, per capita consumption by country is always very interesting. Here are the top 10 countries (and their % change since the last report) - be prepared for a few surprises:

  1. Vatican City State - 17.6 gallons per person (down 0.1%)
  2. Norfolk Island - 15.2 gallons per person (down 1.3%)
  3. France - 14.1 gallons per person (down 2.5%)
  4. Luxembourg - 13.9 gallons per person (down 4.9%)
  5. Andorra - 13.7 gallons per person (down 17.8%)
  6. Italy - 13.2 gallons per person (up 2.8%)
  7. Portugal - 11.7 gallons per person (down 4.3%)
  8. Slovenia - 11.6 gallons per person (up 46.7%)
  9. Falkland Islands - 11.1 gallons per person (up 63.9%)
  10. Croatia - 10.9 gallons per person (down 0.3%)

Where does the United States fit in? We are number 57, at 2.56 gallons per person (up 14.5%); we were #61. Worldwide average - 1.2 gallons per person (up 3.5%) for 223 reporting countries.

Total Wine Consumption This is the total consumption, per country, in millions of gallons of wine. While per capita consumption provides a clear picture of how much wine is being consumed each year by an individual, this category provides similar data for the entire country. Whereas size of country has no impact on the ranking for per capita consumption - in this category the total population of each country has a major impact. All 223 countries (territories, states, etc.) in the world are tracked.

  1. France - 1,360 million gallons (or 1.36 billion gallons)
  2. Italy - 769 million gallons
  3. United States - 762 million gallons
  4. Germany - 525 million gallons
  5. China - 375 million gallons
  6. Spain - 351 million gallons
  7. United Kingdom - 306 million gallons
  8. Argentina - 282 million gallons
  9. Russia - 281 million gallons
  10. Romania - 148 million gallons

The top 10 wine consuming countries represent 72% of total wine consumption. . Sometime in the next 5 years the US should become the number 2 consuming country in the world.

The United Kingdom is probably the most fascinating - it is #7 in consumption, yet only #58 in production (1.5 million gallons); that means the Brits import a staggering 99.5% of the wine they consume. (Of course, they have been importing at that level for the last 1000 years.)

Total Wine Production This is the total amount of wine produced by each reporting country, also in millions of gallons. This is the number whereby national pride is at stake.

Although consumption is up 3.5%, total production is down by 2.8%. The top 10 countries represent 82% of world production. Only 60 countries are tracked as wine producing countries.

  1. Italy - 1,360 million gallons (up 16.8%)
  2. France - 1,207 million gallons (down 20.4%)
  3. Spain - 971 million gallons (down 12.1%)
  4. United States - 641 million gallons (up 0.7%)
  5. Argentina - 397 million gallons (down 2.9%)
  6. Australia - 389 million gallons (down 2.0%)
  7. China - 383 million gallons (up 23.9%)
  8. Germany - 274 million gallons (up 2.5%)
  9. South Africa - 272 million gallons (up 11.0%)
  10. Chile - 230 million gallons (up 32.7%)

France and Italy trading places is a surprise to many, and a concern to the French. Obviously, the Italians are happy. France has been the leading wine producing country for at least 50 years.

The European Union (EU), comprised of 27 countries with a population of a little over 550 million people, produces 70% of the worlds wine. The top three wine producers in the EU (Italy, France and Spain) represent 48% of the entire world's production. All of the New World and Nouveaux New World combined produce 30% of the world's wine. However, the top three New World countries (USA, Argentina and Australia) represent 19% of the world's total production.

Total Wine Exported This is a much more difficult set of data to find - I am using International Trade Centre data, in the UK, for 2008. The top 10 countries compromise 88% of total world exports.

  1. Italy - 452 million gallons (33.2% of production)
  2. France - 364 million gallons (30.2% of production)
  3. Spain - 316 million gallons (32.5% of production)
  4. Australia - 218 million gallons (56.1% of production)
  5. Chile - 124 million gallons (53.9% of production)
  6. South Africa - 120 million gallons (44.2% of production)
  7. United States - 102 million gallons (15.8% of production)
  8. Argentina - 88 million gallons (22.2% of production)
  9. Germany - 83 million gallons (30.2% of production)
  10. Portugal - 82 million gallons (51.2% of production)

Other interesting facts: Moldovia (#12 on the list of wine exporting countries), exports 29.6% of its production - the taxes from the wine exports provide 15% of the income of the country.

France and the United States are the two key net importers of wine, after the UK of course.

France produces 1,207 million gallons and exports 364 million - leaving 843 million gallons consumed in-country. The total consumption for France is 1,360 million gallons; leaving 38% being imported from other countries (mostly EU countries).

The United States produces 641 million gallons and exports 102 million gallons; leaving 539 million gallons of US wine consumed in the US. The total consumption of the United States is 762 million gallons; leaving 29.2% being imported from other countries, worldwide.

More Questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.


Put an International Wine Guild Badge on Your Website!

Sommelier Courses and Wine Classes from the International Wine Guild Wine School

The International Wine Guild Wine School

Copy the code below and paste into your website or blog:

Sommelier Courses and Wine Classes from the International Wine Guild Wine School

The International Wine Guild Wine School

Copy the code below and paste into your website or blog:


Customer Feedback