Top 10 wine consuming countriesBy Lauren Eads
You would expect big wine producing countries like Italy and France to make a top 10 list of wine consuming countries per capita – but data from the Wine Institute of California also threw up a few surprises.
Despite remaining one of the top 10 wine consuming countries in the world, Italy’s domestic wine consumption hit a record low in 2013 with consumption per capita at its weakest since Italy was unified in 1861.
In the US increasing popularity of Prosecco has led US consumers to drink more Italian wine than the Italians.
While China was recently named the world’s largest red wine market consuming 155 million nine-litre cases in 2013.
But how do these trends translate into wine consumed in each country per capita?
According to 2011 statistics compiled by the Wine Institute of California, some of the biggest wine consuming countries are not those currently hitting the headlines.
Scroll through to see which countries drink the most wine per head in the world…
10. Saint Pierre and Miquelon
The French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon are situated in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean near Canada – the last remnant of the former colonial empire of New France. Despite having a population of just 5,000, this island colony consumes an impressive 35 litres of wine per capita each year.
Litres per capita: 35.67
Italy is home to some of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions so it makes sense that the population would enjoy a glass of Chianti or two. Italy is also the largest wine producer in the world contributing around 45 to 50 million hectolitres to the industry each year.
Litres per capita: 37.63
Switzerland is home to around 15,000 hectares of vineyards producing a near 50/50 split between red and white grape varieties. The main wine producing regions are in the west and south of the country in areas such as Geneva, Ticino and Vaud. Very little of its wine is exported with the vast majority drunk within national boundaries.
Litres per capita: 37.88
Known for its Port and Vinho Verde wines, Portugal ranks 7th in the world for the most wine consumed per capita. Portuguese wine grew up under the influence of ancient civilisations including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks but mostly the Romans with exports to Rome starting during the time of the Roman Empire.
Litres per capita: 42.20
Slovenia’s wine making heritage can be traced back before the Roman Empire to the early Celtic and Illyrian tribes who started producing wine in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Today, Slovenia has more than 28,000 wineries producing around 80 to 90 million hectolitres each year. Its three principal wine regions are the Drava Valley, Lower Sava Valley and the Solvenian Littoral which produce around 75% white wines.
Litres per capita: 44.98
France is one of the world’s largest and most revered wine producing countries in the world and its love of wine shows in its consumption, ranking fifth in the world per capita.
Litres per capita: 45.61
4. Norfolk Island – Pacific Ocean
Norfolk Island is a small island situated in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. Originally home to East Polynesians, Norfolk Island was colonised by Great Britain in 1788 and served as a convict penal settlement until May 1855. In 1901, the island became a part of the Commonwealth of Australia and remains so today. Despite having a population of just over 2,000, this tiny island consumes the fourth most wine per capita in the world.
Litres per capita: 46.29
Winemaking in Luxembourg dates back to ancient Roman times with wine today produced primarily in the south east of the country in the Moselle Valley. The industry is dominated by a number of winemaking cooperatives in Greiveldange, Grevenmacher, Remerschen, Stadtbredimus and Wellenstein with wine sourced from more than 800 hectares of vineyards and sold under the name of “Vinsmoselle”.
Litres per capita: 49.11
Andorra, a landlocked micro-state in the eastern Pyrenees mountains is the sixth smallest nation in Europe – but has an impressive taste for wine. Each of its 85,000 inhabitants were said to consume around 50 litres of wine each in 2011.
Litres per capita: 50.69
1. Vatican City State
Interestingly the country with the lowest population but highest rate of consumption of wine per capita was the Vatican City State in Italy. Not technically and country, but a city state, the population of the 44 hectare Vatican City was said to consume 62 litres of wine.
Litres per capita: 62.20