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Which countries drink the most wine? Ask Decanter

World wine consumption likely dipped last year as higher prices contributed to people uncorking fewer bottles, a recent report has said, but which country drank the most?

The US has continued to top the list of which countries drink the most wine overall, according to preliminary figures for 2022 released by the International Organisation of Vine & Wine (OIV). 

Wine consumption in the US returned to pre-Covid pandemic levels last year, rising by around 3% versus 2021 to reach an estimated 34 million hectolitres (3.4bn litres), the recent OIV report said.

World wine consumption dipped by 1% in 2022, though, coming in at an estimated 232 million hectolitres (mhl).

Higher energy costs associated with the war in Ukraine, as well as global supply chain disruption, led to ‘significant increases in wine prices for consumers’, the OIV said.

Inflation dented wine drinkers’ purchasing power, too, although the impact varied.

World wine production also fell by an estimated 1% in 2022, to 258mhl, putting it below the 20-year average for a fourth consecutive year, the OIV said.

Record wine export value

Global wine exports reached a record €37.6bn (£32.7bn, $40.5bn) last year, up 9% on 2021, due to a sharp rise in average prices, OIV said. 

Yet export volumes dropped 5%, to 107mhl, and the OIV said high inflation and supply chain problems caused a ‘significant slowdown of sea freight’.

France made up one third of global exports in value terms, shipping €12.3bn of wine last year.

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 2022.

  • US: 34mhl, up 2.8% versus 2021
  • France: 25.3mhl, up 1.5%
  • Italy: 23mhl, down 5%
  • Germany: 19.4mhl, down 2.5%
  • UK: 12.8mhl, down 2.2%
  • Russia: 10.8mhl, up 3.3%
  • Spain: 10.3mhl, down 0.1%
  • China: 8.8mhl, down 16%
  • Argentina: 8.3mhl, down 1.3%
  • Portugal: 6mhl, up 14.3%

Source: OIV

In the chart above, the US accounts for 15% of the world’s total wine consumption.

France retained second place, ahead of Italy, and Portugal crept into the top 10 at the expense of Australia, which slipped to 11th place in the preliminary OIV data.

Which country drinks the most wine per person?

On a per capita basis, the leaderboard looks quite different. Portugal topped the charts in 2022, way ahead of France and Italy, with Switzerland taking fourth place, show preliminary OIV figures. 

The US didn’t make the cut, on 12.6 litres per capita, and the UK also missed out on the top 10, finishing 11th on 23.2 litres – just behind Argentina.

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

  • Portugal: 67.5 litres per capita
  • France: 47.4 litres
  • Italy: 44.4 litres
  • Switzerland: 35.5 litres
  • Austria: 30.8 litres
  • Germany: 27 litres
  • Australia: 26.1 litres
  • Czech Republic: 25.3 litres
  • Spain: 25.3 litres
  • Netherlands: 24.5 litres
  • Argentina: 23.8 litres

Source: OIV

Things have changed a lot in the last few decades.

French wine industry groups ‘sounded the alarm’ in December 2022 over falling consumption in the country, particularly among young people. 

‘In 60 years, French wine consumption has fallen by 70%,’ said Vin & Société and CNIV (Le Comité National des Interprofessions des Vins à appellation d’origine et à indication géographique).  

The groups called for new efforts to ensure ‘wine retains its place on our tables’. 

A chart shared by the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) on Twitter in 2021 showed how wine consumption in four big European producer nations has fallen over the past century.

That chart is from the ‘annual database of global wine markets’, made freely available by the University of Adelaide’s Wine Economics Research Centre, and created by professor Kym Anderson and economic history professor Vicente Pinilla, with the assistance of A.J. Holmes.  

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