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Which countries drink the most wine? Ask Decanter

World wine consumption has recovered slightly after three years of decline, show new figures, but which country drinks the most?

The US still comes top on the list of which countries drink the most wine overall, according to to preliminary figures released this week by the International Organisation of Vine & Wine (OIV). 

Wine consumption in the US crept up by 0.7% in 2021, to 33.1 million hectolitres (3.31 billion litres), the OIV said in a report on the state of the industry.

World wine consumption grew by the same margin, to hit 236 million hectolitres (mhl), or 23.6bn litres, although trends varied by nation.

That’s the first global increase in four years, and it partly reflects the reopening of restaurants and rise in social gatherings following Covid-19 lockdowns, the OIV said.

More wine was exported in 2021 than in any year since records began, with shipments totalling 111.6mhl, it added.

Yet it warned that ongoing supply chain disruption and the wider economic repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could exacerbate pre-existing challenges for the wine trade around inflation and higher costs.

‘The war in Ukraine is clearly affecting energy prices and this affects inflation,’ said OIV director general Pau Roca during a live-streamed press conference.

He also spoke about supply bottlenecks. ‘The prices of containers have multiplied by 20, the prices for the palettes have increased by seven [or] eight times,’ he said.

Top 10 countries that drink the most wine

Here is an updated list of the 10 countries that drink the most wine, according to OIV’s preliminary figures for 2021.

  • US: 33.1mhl, up 0.7% versus 2020
  • France: 25.2mhl, up 8.6%
  • Italy: 24.2mhl, flat versus 2020
  • Germany: 19.8mhl, flat versus 2020
  • UK: 13.4mhl, flat versus 2020
  • Spain: 10.5mhl, up nearly 10%
  • China: 10.5mhl, down 15.4%
  • Russia: 10.5mhl, up 2%
  • Argentina: 8.4mhl, down 11%
  • Australia: 5.9mhl, flat versus 2020.

Source: OIV

Which country drinks the most wine per person?

On a per capita basis, the leaderboard would look quite different.  

According to the OIV, the top 10 countries in terms of per capita wine consumption are:

  • Portugal: 51.9 litres per capita
  • France: 46.9 litres
  • Italy: 46 litres
  • Switzerland: 35.3 litres
  • Austria: 30.6 litres
  • Australia: 28.7 litres
  • Germany: 27.5 litres
  • Spain: 26.2 litres
  • Netherlands: 26.1 litres
  • Belgium: 26 litres

Things have changed a lot in the last few decades, too.

A chart shared by the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) on Twitter last year showed how wine consumption in four big European producer nations has fallen.

In France, wine consumption has roughly halved on a per capita basis in the last 50 years, having already been declining before 1970.

That chart is from the recently updated ‘annual database of global wine markets, 1835-2018’, made freely available by the University of Adelaide’s Wine Economics Research Centre.

Italy, too, has seen consumption drop from around 100 litres per person in 1970, show the figures compiled by emeritus professor Kym Anderson and economic history professor Vicente Pinilla (with the assistance of A.J. Holmes), of the University of Adelaide and University of Zaragoza respectively.

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