Au Revoir, Bon Ami: United States Passes France As Top Wine-Consuming Nation

We are now officially number one in the wine world. The United States has finally passed France as the top consuming wine nation with 330 million cases to France’s 321 million cases.

It is a welcomed trend for those of us who are wine fanatics. We have come a long way. I recall my father telling me that when he first became interested in wine in the 1950s he went into a store in Chicago and asked for a Zinfandel. The owner laughed and said “Kid, there are only two types of wine: red and white.”

The French are still number one in personal consumption. The average American drinks three gallons of wine a year (due largely to my own consumption being averaged across the nation). That is up from one gallon per person in 1970. However, the average Frenchmen still drinks 5 bottles to every one bottle for every American.

Clearly, the most important measure is quality. I am a great fan of France and its wines. My only complaint is that, in visiting France, it is almost impossible to find more than one or two bottles of American wine in wine stores. When you ask about it, the owners always say that their customers simply prefer French wines. This may be in part true but it is also likely due to the refusal of owners to expose French citizens to a greater array of American wines. It is a raw demonstration of French chauvinism and runs against a true love for wine that should not be blinded by nationalism. American wines are now easily competitive with French wines and often win in international competitions.

I agree that the French has a greater number and deeper number of fine wines. I love tasting local wines in France, which are often amazing in their quality. However, there is a lack of mutuality between wine lovers in both countries. You can go to any fine restaurant in the United States and find a great array of French wines. It is rare to see a single fine American wine at a French restaurant, let alone our counterparts in Australia and other fine wine producing countries.

With wine consumption continuing to rise in the United States, we can expect to see greater development of American wines. Hopefully, we will see a greater experimentation among French drinkers in the years to come.

Source: Time

27 thoughts on “Au Revoir, Bon Ami: United States Passes France As Top Wine-Consuming Nation”

  1. And the Australians not to be out done..seeking whats down under….after a tumbler…. believing we control the almighty thunder… and alls we did was numb her….

    To all of you that can recall what you did after drinking too much…Too bad…. I was blessed with memory loss…. You don’t say….yep… one of the few good reasons to continue to drink….

  2. I’d forgotten about Mad Dog, rafflaw. First smile of the day…

    pete, :-), regarding the things we’d like to forget, but can’t…

    To Elaine’s list, I’ll add South Africa and Spain. Many, many good wines out there from a lot of different countries.

  3. I have to agree that Mad Dog 20/20 is an old favorite from my college days. Of course, I don’t drink much anymore because of the Mad Dog 20/20 from my old college days!

  4. Blouise,

    I’m allergic to the pollens that get through the fermentation process so I can’t drink a lot or I really suffer abnormally. More so with reds than white hence the preference. What’s odd about the red is that blended wines are easier on me. If I drink a red, I really prefer an Italian style table wine more than a varietal.

  5. I like MD, MD20/20, Annie Green Springs, Boones Farm. The Franch cannot compete with such fine products.

  6. You guys are forgetting a couple of continents.

    Different climates and soil types grow different grapes better, depending on what you prefer, you’re bound to like wines from one area over another just because you prefer the attributes of the local wines better. That doesn’t mean that one country makes better wine, just that one country makes wine that fits your tastes better.

    That being said, when going to a party I bring a South American Malbec. It takes a lot of work for one of those to turn out worse than “this is a decent wine.”

  7. Buddha,

    Yes, German wines also but Italian are my favorites and red or white makes little difference to me … are you able to enjoy wine or does it present some problems?

  8. Honestly so do I, Blouise.

    German wines too, but then again, I’m not much for reds.

  9. I remember my father opening bottles of wine that had turned to vinegar. That also happened in a restaurant. That doesn’t seem to happen anymore no matter where the wine is made.

  10. When you ask about it, the owners always say that their customers simply prefer French wines.

    I have to agree with French wine sellers. I’m American, and I prefer French wines over American wines. Why? French wines just taste better. And, it’s usually because of the alcohol content. French wines typically have 12.5% alcohol versus upwards of 13% to 14% alcohol in American wines. The higher levels of alcohol just ruin the taste for me. So. I choose French wines.

    French wines just taste better, than any other appellation. Bordeaux and Rhone appellations wines are my favorites.

  11. Generally speaking, as part of their cultural, to the French all foods not French are inferior. To Americans, they’re exotic.

  12. but, are we drinking enough to earn our own disdain????!!!

    I think not…………..

  13. AY wrote: “I did my part to assist the WINE TIME EFFORTS..”

    :-), AY. Likewise. (I agree with Jerry. “Nice piece.”)

  14. Nice piece. I agree with you that the French probably have much greater quality in local wine production. But we’re improving there as well. Even in Oklahoma, where the notion of wine production is in the toddler stage, we’re beginning to see some very good local wines. And that may be one of the real keys to future wine consumption in the US. Getting Oklahomans accustomed to seeing a good wine produced only a few miles from home surely is an encouragement to try that wine. And others as well. Thank you for the always interesting pieces you find to like to.

  15. Hey now….wine is wine once you go past a bottle….it does not matter if it a 35 dollar bottle or a 75 dollar…. I did my best to exceed the national average… and by George….I did…Nothing ever really mediocre about me…. I did my part to assist the WINE TIME EFFORTS..

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