Production and Consumption

Most wines are made in temperate climates, particularly those areas near oceans or seas. About 75% of all wine is made in the Mediterranean areas of Europe (Table 10-1). France, Italy, and Spain are the largest producers, and are responsible for more than half of the nearly 27 billion liters of wine produced from around the world. Not surprisingly, these countries also devote the most acreage to grape production.

However, several relatively new entrants into the global wine market have made a significant impact. In particular,Australia, South Africa, and Chile are now responsible for more than 10% of worldwide wine production. Given that these three countries consume less than half the volume of wine that they produce, they represent a significant part of the export market. The United States is also one of the leading producers of wine (more than 2 billion liters per year), with most production coming from California (which alone accounts for about 90% of all U.S. wine). In fact, according to wine industry statistics (www.wineinstitute.org),the economic impact of the California wine industry is estimated to be $33 billion.

On a volume basis, the top five wine consuming countries are France, Italy, the United States, Germany, and Spain (Table 10-1). On a per capita basis, consumers in Luxembourg, France, and Italy drink the most wine, more than 50 liters per person per year (Figure 10-1).This compares to the world per capita average of about 3.5 liters. In the United States, per capita consumption is about 9 liters. However, in contrast to many of the European countries where wine consumption has either been the same or decreased in recent years, wine consumption in the United States has increased (about 8% since 1997). On average, most of the wine consumed in the United States costs only about $7 per bottle (0.75 L).

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