Firstleaf, a US-based wine subscription service, has published all of the most important facts and figures about the international wine industry with their Wine Statistics guide.
If you’re just looking for general information about the wine industry, it’s a good place to start. All of the information comes from reputable sources like the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.
But the guide is also interesting reading from a UK perspective. While the UK will never be a leader in wine production, British influence around the world is helping to drive the expansion of the wine industry. Our English-speaking cousins in the US and Australia are among the largest producers — and consumers — of wine.
Wine Production Statistics
Here in the UK, we’re ringed by the world’s biggest wine producers.
Three of our nearest nautical neighbors, Germany, France, and Spain, are all among the top 10 wine producing nations. Across the Atlantic, the US is the largest producer of wine outside of the European continent.
To put it another way — a huge proportion of the world’s wine travels near our shores.
The international nature of the top wine producing countries is interesting as well. Six continents are represented on the list, among them three nations with long-standing ties to the UK: Australia, China, and South Africa.
Just behind Italy (1.3 billion gallons produced per year) France (1.1 billion), and Spain (886 million) sits the United States of America, in 4th place with 642 million gallons of wine produced per year.
South America checks in with Argentina in 5th place (343 million gallons), as well as Chile in 7th (314 million gallons).
Australia — a nation and continent in one — produces the 6th most wine of any country in the world, at 317 million gallons.
Africa is represented by South Africa, in 8th place, producing 256 million gallons per year.
And one more continent, Asia, makes the list at #10. China now produces 219 million gallons of wine annually.
Wine Consumption Statistics
While the UK isn’t one of the world’s largest wine producers, we make up for it by being excellent customers.
The UK ranks 6th among the world’s nations in wine consumption — we imbibe 343 million gallons per year. China ranks 5th at 470 million gallons (also, 20 times as many people). Germany is 4th (539 million gallons), Italy 3rd (597 million), France 2nd (700 million), and the US 1st at a whopping 872 million gallons consumed per year.
Of course, it makes sense that the countries with the largest populations (all 6 of those mentioned are in the top 25) would consume the most wine. But what happens when you look at the per-person consumption?
Here’s where the central place of wine in European life becomes clear. Nine of the ten countries who drink the most wine per person are in Europe.
The top 5:
Portugal (12.8 gallons per person)
France (10.3 gallons per person)
Italy (9.6 gallons per person)
Switzerland (8.5 gallons per person)
Austria (6.9 gallons per person)
Warm or cold, Germanic or Francophone, the people of Europe do enjoy their wine. The only non-European nation among the top ten? Australia, at 6.1 gallons per person.
Wine Sales Statistics
We know who’s making the most wine and who’s drinking the most wine … but who’s spending the most on wine?
The latest data on wine sales tells us that drinkers in the UK and Canada may be more discerning (or more flashy) with their purchases.
For example: While Canada does not appear among the top 10 wine drinking nations, the country ranks 7th in the world in wine spending. This tells us that while Canadians drink less wine, they are spending more than other people on the wine they do drink.
There’s a similar correlation for the UK, though it’s not as start. The UK ranks 6th in wine consumption, but 5th in wine sales (leapfrogging Germany). Again, the data suggests that wine drinkers in the UK spend more on the wine they drink.
Other Wine Industry Stats & Trends
The rest of the guide deals with sales trends during COVID, and wine tourism. There’s no UK-specific information, but data from the US suggests that wine sales may have increased during the pandemic.
Wine tourism, of course, slowed to a trickle. But the vineyards still produced, and bottles kept aging. Tourists will be in for a treat when they get to their favourite wineries, whether they be in the US, France, or UK.