Wine: A Look at the Numbers

The other day, Josh from shared with me an entertaining infographic about wine consumption in the United States.  Being a huge fan of statistics, I always like to look a little bit deeper into the numbers.


Let’s take a look at this graphic together (by scrolling below, or viewing the original graphic on their website), and talk about what these numbers really mean…

Now that you’ve had a chance to view the statistics, let’s break them down…

Statistic #1: Americans make up the largest wine market in the world (consuming 13% of all wine produced globally).

The Breakdown: While wine consumption in the United States has been growing steadily, our rank as the largest world market is mainly a function of our population.  Behind China and India, the U.S. is the 3rd-most populated country in the world.  According to the folks at, as of 2010 our per capita consumption of 9.42 liters (that’s 2.49 gallons, or about 12 and a half bottles of wine per person) would have ranked us as 53rd.

What was the top wine-consuming country in 2010?

The Vatican City, at 54.78 liters per person.  That’s almost 1 and a half bottles a week!  And THAT is almost enough to keep up with the fine folks at Stay Rad Wine Blog.

Statistic #2: 45% of American adults drink wine.

The Breakdown: Current estimates put the U.S. population at just over 316 million people.  Of those people, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 73% are 20 years of age or over (Hey… I couldn’t find one for 21-year-olds!).  That’s going to give us just over 230 million adults.  45% of 230 million gives us 103.5 million adult wine drinkers.  If we take the 856 million gallons of wine consumed in 2012 and divide it by 103.5 million adults, we are now looking at 8.27 gallons per wine drinking adult (or just under 42 bottles per person).

That is a lot of wine, but the Vatican City still has us (well… at least SOME of us) beat!

Statistic #3: 52% of women prefer wine to other alcoholic beverages.  For men, the number is 20%.

The Breakdown: Nothing to break down here.  I’m just wondering how many of those men choose wine to impress the ladies.

Statistic #4: The most popular variety of table wine in the U.S. by market share is Chardonnay at 21%.

The Breakdown: They could have saved a lot of money in researching this by just looking in my parents’ refrigerator.

Statistic #5: Wine production in the U.S. dropped from the year 2009 to 2010, but has since rebounded to its highest level.

The Breakdown: While both wine production and sales of wine did drop in conjunction with the recession, consumption did not.  The United States consumed 21 million MORE gallons of wine in 2010 as compared to 2009.

There is a lesson to be learned here…

When times are tough, people don’t drink less wine.  They drink CHEAPER wine.

Statistic #6: The most expensive bottle of wine sold by a winery is one of the twelve Penfolds Ampoules featuring the 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon at $168,000 for a (cool looking) 750ml bottle.

The Breakdown: There are just over 25 ounces of wine in that bottle.  That’s just about $6,720 for a one ounce taste.

The main ingredient in wine is water.

There are approximately 590 drops of water in an ounce.  That’s $11.30 a drop.

Can we make a deal?

If you ever get a chance to taste this wine, can I pay you $10 to lick the glass?

Stay Rad,


What are your thoughts on this infographic?  What do you think of Jeff’s commentary?  Leave a comment, and let us know what you think.


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