US waxes as China wanes


As long predicted, the US overtook France to become the world's biggest consumer of wine last year, a year in which global consumption of wine fell slightly overall, thanks mainly to the continuing fall in consumption in Europe's biggest wine-producing countries. Americans, on the other hand, bought 0.5% or 145,000 hl more wine in 2013 than in 2012, a total of 29,145,000 hl. But the world's total wine consumption continues to fall from its 2007 peak.

Perhaps one of the most notable statistics in the plethora presented by the OIV in Paris yesterday was that last year, for the first time (ever?), total consumption of wine in China fell, by 4%, presumably a result of the government's austerity measures. Indeed, of the major wine-consuming countries outside Europe, wine consumption fell in 2013 only in China and Australia, where total wine consumption fell by 2%. But so important have Chinese wine consumers become that the fall in volume of wine sold in China was considerably greater than the increase in volumes sold in the US, South America, South Africa and New Zealand put together.

According to OIV statistics, UK wine consumption fell very slightly too, by 0.5%. But this was minor compared with the decreases in the major European wine-consuming countries: -7% in France and -4% in Italy. Incidentally, Spanish wine consumption is now so reduced that it is considerably smaller than that of both the UK and Germany, which managed to notch up an increase of 1.5% last year. In fact the Germans now consume almost as much wine as the Italians. Bravo!

So the world's biggest markets for wine in 2013 were, in decreasing size:


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