For the first time since records have been kept, the U.S. has overtaken France in per capita wine consumption, according to a recent report published by an annual report on the French economy. While still not top of the heap - Italians, for instance, still consumer about 37 liters per capita - trends indicate wine consumption here will only increase the gap between the two countries.
This year’s report shed some special insight into the habits of new consumers and the rise of “New World” wines. "The wine market has become a real global market,” Benoit Lechenault, head of Agrifrance, detailed in the annual survey. “Despite increasing competition, very few brands have succeeded in really imposing themselves at international level, and growth prospects in the 'premium' segment are very good.”
France still rules the high-end wine market. Its wines command an average price of $7.50 per liter compared to the global average of nearly $3 in 2011. Champagnes fetch more, about $16 per liter. And while 84 of the world’s 100 best known wine brands are French, drinkers in the U.S. are now consuming the most wine in the world at an average of 12 liters per person annually, about 16 bottles each. Europeans still account for over 50 percent of world consumption but new consumers have appeared on the scene to ensure the continuing popularity of wine-drinking.
Other details of the report - the top 12 wine-growing countries in the world account for 84 percent of the global wine production. Last year 247 million hectoliters, the equivalent of 37.2 billion bottles, were produced, a moderate rise of about 2.2 percent over the past 20 years. But while wine production in Europe has remained stable, new world markets like Chile, Australia, and New Zealand have seen their wine production increase by as much as 300 percent.