The Country That Drinks The Most Wine Probably Isn't What You Think

You don't need to be a master sommelier to know that Europeans pride themselves on their passion for wine. Whether it's paired with a pasta dish in Italy, sipped alongside a specialty cheese in France, or served with a delectable tapas spread in Spain, wine is commonly the finishing touch on almost every meal in the region. We'd even go so far as to say that it's practically regarded as its own food group. Considering the fact that France, Italy, and Spain are indeed the top three wine-producing countries on Earth, that's hardly a surprise.

However, you might be surprised to learn that when it comes to wine consumption, none of the above nations can hold a candle (or a bottle) to the United States. Yep, according to the 2024 State of the U.S. Wine Industry Report by Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the U.S. is consistently the world's top wine-consuming country. As stated in the report, U.S. wine drinkers gulped down over 329 million cases of wine in 2022. 

Per data from the International Organization of Wine and Vine (OIV), that equates to about 3.4 billion liters of vino. Compare that to the 2.53 billion liters of wine consumed by France, and the 2.3 billion liters drank by Italy that same year. Rounding out the top five wine-consuming populations were Germany and the United Kingdom — and, although Spain is the world's third-biggest producer of wine, it actually trails behind Russia in terms of consumption.

The demand for wine is on the decline

Given that the United States does, of course, have a much larger population than other wine-loving nations, it makes sense that it's able to out-drink them. And while the Chinese consumer market certainly has the means to compete with the U.S. in terms of purchasing (and drinking) power, the world's most populated country has seriously decreased its consumption of wine over the past 10 years, going from 201.1 million cases in 2015 to 97.8 million in 2022.

In fact, the demand for vino is on the decline globally — and yes, that includes the U.S. Wine sales in the country have been on a steady downward slope since the 2000s, with the industry reporting negative volume sales in 2021, 2022, and 2023. One of the main takeaways from SVB's industry report is that "fewer U.S. consumers see wine as their preferred alcoholic beverage" in recent years. The data suggests that some have been opting instead for ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, stronger spirits, or forgoing drinking in favor of cannabis. 

Additionally, many young adults in America have simply been abstaining from alcohol altogether (and not just during Dry January). According to a 2023 Gallup poll, Americans under the age of 35 are drinking less than they have in previous decades. While that may suggest future shifts in drinking data, for now, the United States is still the world's leading wine consumer by a landslide. We'd raise a glass to that.