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Wine

Surprise! Americans Drink More Wine Than the French

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Wed, May 14, 2014 at 10:36 AM
click to enlarge a wine cork - FLICKR/DEREK GAVEY
Congratulations America! We're officially bigger winos than the French. According to the Organization of Vine and Wine, the U.S. became the biggest internal market in the world, volume-wise, as of 2013. We won this coveted title by consuming 29.1 million hectoliters (mhl) of wine - not including vermouth or special wines, if you want to get nit-picky - versus France's consumption of 28.1 mhl. Just for reference, worldwide consumption stands at 238.7 mhl total.

Here's a few more interesting facts. The wine we're drinking is mostly American wine : At least 4/5 of the wine we slug is domestically produced, which reflects the growth of U.S. wineries and the quality of the product. And, our overall drinking rose by .5 percent, compared to France's enthusiasm falling by a whopping 7%.

In fact, back in 2012, Agence-France Presse reported that the French were cutting back on their wine with meals habit to the point that the populace was barely consuming one glass per person per day. French wine consumption has been gradually falling - by more than 100 liters a person since 1965.

Meanwhile, China's viniferous frenzy seems to have stopped entirely, in a country that was demonstrating serious growth in prior years.  Wine consumption in other parts of Europe, including Italy, Great Britain, and Spain, has also declined markedly. OIV director general Jean-Marie Aurand suggests that this may be because European wine enthusiasts are choosing quality over quantity, while Americans - who have come to wine drinking relatively recently in the scheme of things - are busy "bulking up their cellars," as Time magazine called it.

So, more wine buying, more wine drinking and more American wine being drunk. Cool. But, before we grab a bottle of bubbly to celebrate our grapey win, consider this sobering fact. Per capita, (even with that less than one glass a day observation from 2012), France still has us beat, drinking 46.4 litres of wine per person per year, compared to our 9 litres.

In other, rather ironic news a study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that Resveratrol (found in red wine and dark chocolate) isn't the wonder drug we thought it was. Well, we win some, we lose some and we can all drink to that. 


Lesley blogs at 12 Bottle Bar, tweets at @12BottleBar and is the author of the book "Gin: A Global History."  Email her at ljsolmonson@gmail.com. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.>

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