The global wine industry has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. We’ve often spoken about how the internet has made this growth possible, but you cannot underestimate the impact of this technological marvel on the wine industry. The internet, and by extension online shopping affords anybody the opportunity to buy any wine they might desire from the comfort of their own homes No longer limited by what their local stores have in stock, consumers have started exploring wine in more depth, which has played a large part in contributing to the industry’s growth.
In more recent years, there has been a sustained push into new, even larger territories. Both China and India are becoming increasingly big customers to the Italian wine industry. Both countries also have populations that number above the 1 billion mark, making them extremely important to the future growth of the industry.
With so many new tools and players on the scene, we come to our pivotal question. Which countries consume the most amount of wine? You may just be surprised by the results.
The Per Capita Numbers
Per capita refers to the amount of something per person. While these numbers don’t measure the sheer amount of wine that a country might by, they’re offer a more balanced figure based on the country’s population.
For example, you could safely assume that a country with a large per capita consumption would continue that consumption rate if it doubled in size. Naturally, this would also double the sheer amount of wine that country consumers.
Believe it or not, the small nation of Andorra is the leading nation in the world when it comes to the consumption of wine per person. According to statistics released in 2014, which is the latest year for which we have wine consumption statistics, this small nation drank 3,936 million litres of wine in 2014.
That’s an impressive number on its own, but then you have to consider Andorra’s population. The country plays host to less than 70,000, which means that each individual in the country drinks 76 bottles of wine per year. And that’s before we account for children and non-drinkers. In reality, it may well be that the average Andorran wine drinker actually consumes 100 bottles per year, which is a truly startling statistic.
However, there is a small caveat to that number. Andorra is a popular skiing and tourist destinations, so it’s very likely that much of that wine goes to the service industry. So, perhaps the average Andorran doesn’t actually drink quite so much wine. Even so, for a country of its size, those numbers are very impressive.
Vatican City comes second only to Andorra when it comes to the most wine consumed per person. It’s a fairly distant second too, as the average person in Vatican City drinks 56.2 litres of wine per year.
Of course, you have to remember the regularity of communion within the Vatican likely plays a large role in those numbers, as too does the popularity of table wines during communal lunches. Even so, it’s quite remarkable that two of the smallest countries in the world consume quite so much wine.
The Rest of the Top Five
You’d assume Italy would have to boast a place in the top five of per capita wine consumption. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. The rest of the positions are taken by Croatia, which is another unexpected result, Portugal, and France.
Of the five, only the latter two really have a large wine industry, so it just goes to show how much the industry has grown in recent years.
As an interesting note, the United Kingdom comes in at 29th, despite the surging popularity of wines like Prosecco. Italy, on the other hand, just about scrapes into the top ten, ahead of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, but almost three litres per capita lower than ninth placed Switzerland.
The Biggest Drinker
So, which country tops the list as the biggest drinker of wine in terms of the sheer amount of wine consumed?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the United States of America. Though the country consumes less than 10 litres per capita, placing at 55th on that particular list, the number of people who drink wine in the USA push it over the top in terms of the amount consumed.
Are you ready for this? Every year, the United States drinks 3,217,500,000 litres of wine. Over 3.2 billion. That’s a number that we can barely even fathom. If the United States drank at the same per capita rate as Andorra, that number would jump to approximately 24 billion litres. Even the ever-growing wine industry would struggle to meet such an insatiable demand, so it may be a good thing that the American wine industry isn’t growing at quite that rate.
The Other End of the Scale
Of course, it’s also interesting to see what things look like at the other end of the scale. The countries that drink the smallest amount of wine per year are predominantly Muslim, which should come as no surprise as alcohol is banned by the religion.
Pakistan comes out on top of the lowest drinkers, with an astonishing 0.00019 litres per person. That’s not even close to a single glass per person. Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen have similar numbers. In fact, Pakistan’s rate of wine consumption is so low that it the 2,912 people living on the Falklands Islands drink more wine per year than the 192 million people living in Pakistan.
The Final Word
Surprisingly, Italy just about makes it into the top ten of biggest wine drinking countries in the word, with its main rival of Franc topping it by five places.
What will be interest to see is how the emergence of the Indian and Chinese markets will play a part on such lists in a few years’ time. If China continues importing wine, it may perhaps supersede the United States as the biggest wine consumer, even if it doesn’t get close to the top ten of wine consuming countries by capita.