Last year, for the first time, people in the United States purchased more wine than people in France, according to a report from the International Organization of Vine and Wine.
France’s per capita consumption is still much higher than America’s, but total wine consumption in France fell while it rose in the U.S. Americans bought 29.1 million hectolitres of wine in 2013, while the French bought only 28.1 million hectolitres, a decline of almost 7% from the previous year.
The New York Times wrote about wine’s decline in Europe last year, explaining:
Americans who are embracing wine live in the greatest era in wine history, when more fascinating wines are readily available than ever before and in a greater diversity of styles from more different places.
But travel to Europe and what do you see? Europeans behaving more like Americans, working longer hours with shorter lunches, as well as grabbing dinner on the go rather than gathering as a family.
Wine is still hugely popular in Europe, however. Reuters notes that the average French person drinks 1.2 bottles of wine per week, which is six times higher than consumption for the average American, according to 2011 data.
And France still produces more wine than the U.S., but a significant portion of the world’s wine is consumed in America.
Check out the map below (it’s in French — darker colors indicate more wine consumed):
International Organization of Vine and Wine
As the map notes, nearly half of the world’s wine is consumed by just five countries.
One explanation for the decline in wine drinking in France could be a focus on higher quality wines that the French buy in less quantity.