Unwinding with a glass of wine is a practice embraced worldwide, whether it's to relax, enjoy over dinner with friends and family, or celebrate a special occasion. Wine consumption varies by country, but some countries are decidedly more enthusiastic about it than others. So which countries drink the most wine? The Wine Institute has tracked that data for years, and the answer might not be what you expect.
One country that consistently tops the list for most wine consumed per capita? Vatican City. According to The Wine Institute and Forbes, its population of 800 people dependably drinks at least 54 liters of wine per year. That's about 70 bottles per person annually. Of course, wine is an important part of the Catholic practice of communion, which accounts for some of that consumption.
The other country that's neck and neck with Vatican City at the top of that list is Andorra, a small and popular ski destination on the border of France and Spain. Its population is about 77,000, and according to The Wine Institute's most recent batch of statistics, they hit the vino as hard as they hit the slopes: their annual count is 57 liters per person, or about 76 bottles. That beats out Vatican City on a per capita basis. Their après-ski scene is clearly a black diamond: experts only.
Europe unfailingly dominates the rest of the top ten list with France, Italy, and Switzerland regularly filling up some of the top spots. So the next time you're imbibing more than usual, chalk it up to being "very European."
Decanting the Data
Of course, having a small population that reliably drinks its wine can inflate your per-capita ranking. But never fear! The Wine Institute also tracks the world's wine consumption on a percentage basis. While Europe held strong in the per capita category, The United States always tops this list, consuming more than 13 percent of the world's wine supply. France was an impressively close second, considering that its population is only a quarter of the size. The most recent study credited France with drinking more than 11 percent of the world's wine. Rounding out the top five are Italy, Germany, and China. The United Kingdom, Spain, Argentina, Russia, and Australia filled up positions six through 10.
Not surprisingly, some of the countries with the highest consumption also yield the highest production. When you think about visiting a famous wine region, Tuscany and Bordeaux are destinations that might come to mind. That makes sense since according to the most recent data, Italy and France are number 1 and 2, each producing about 17 percent of the world's wine, with Spain rounding out the top 3 at 13 percent. Fans of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay will be interested to know that Argentina and the United States round out the top 5. The next time you buy a bottle or sit down to a glass with friends, know that you're in the good company of wine drinkers from around the world.
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