US Wine Fun Facts

Wine barrels in a cellar

Here are some fun and interesting facts we thought you’d enjoy about US wine consumption and production. Did you know…..?

Consumption Fun Facts
•US wine consumption has been growing steadily for years and in 2010, we passed France to become the world’s #1 consumer of wine by volume, according to wine industry consultants Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates. However, there are more than 50 countries—including Ireland, Equatorial Guinea, and Iceland—that consume more wine on a per capita basis than the US.

•The Millennial generation (aged 17-34) and Generation X (age 35-46) are currently driving the growth of the wine market.

•According to the Wine Institute, in 2010 the US consumed 784 million gallons of wine. By comparison, we consumed 29 billion gallons of soft drinks, bottled water, fruit beverages, ready-to-drink tea and coffee, sports beverages and energy drinks during the same period, as reported by Beverage Marketing.

•According to the Wine Handbook, the “state” with the highest per capita consumption of total wine is Washington DC; the state with the lowest per capita consumption is West Virginia.

•The most popular varietals in the US are: #1 Chardonnay, #2 Cabernet, and #3 Merlot.

Production Fun Facts
•The earliest wine made in what is now the US was made in the 1560s from scuppernong grapes by French Huguenot settlers in the modern-day Jacksonville, FL area, according to Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia.

•Today, there are wineries in all 50 states. According to the US Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the states that produced the most wine in 2010 are: #1 California, #2 New York, #3 Washington, #4 Oregon, and #5 Kentucky.

•California, by itself, is the world’s fourth largest producer of wine after France, Italy, and Spain.

•The TTB approves the designation of U.S. Viticultural Areas (Authorized Wine Appellations of origin). In order to have an AVA appear on a wine label, at least 85% of the grapes used to produce the wine must be grown in the AVA. There are currently 198 approved AVAs.

•Only grape variety names approved by TTB may be used on labels for American wine. There are currently 332 approved grape variety names.

•Prohibition had a devastating impact on the US wine industry, and it took years to recover. Some wineries survived by making sacramental wine for religious purposes, which was allowed under the law.

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Wine Commission.