Wine has been a part of the human race since approximately 3,000 B.C. The earliest evidence of organized viticulture and vinification is in Georgia (the Eastern European, former Soviet satellite, not the Southern United State.) It's believed the Egyptians were tinkering with wine making at this point too and I bet, if you look hard enough, you will find evidence in many other far flung parts of the globe as well. Simply put, wine has been with us for a very long time. Wine is also big business. According to the Wine Institute's Trade Data and Analysis (TDA), the world consumes approximately 24 billion liters of wine every year. Interestingly, France had been on the top of the pile for many years, finally being displaced by the USA in 2010. I'm proud to say, we drank 2.967 billion liters of wine last year, with France only managing 2.885 billion liters. Another interesting statistic is wine production. Although steadily declining over the last 5 years, the Wine Institute puts total annual wine production at approximately 27 billion liters. France topped the chart in 2009 with 4.7 billion liters, followed closely by Italy at 4.65 billion liters - what's a half billion liters between friends, right? The US produced 2.77 billion liters in 2009, earning us a fourth place, and interestingly we consumed 2.75 billion liters, which was about 300 million liters more than Italy... The final statistic that I always find interesting is acreage under vines. Although France is tops in production, it is Spain that has the most acreage under vine with 2.72 million acres. France is number two at 1.96 million and Italy, at number three only managed 1.71 million acres. Fourth place was held by China at 1.2 million acres, followed by Turkey, also at 1.2 million. That leaves the US in sixth place at .944 million acres (by the way, California has approximately .79 million acres under vine alone.) So, what does all this mean? Well, financially, if you were a grape farmer, with premium grapes, you would be sharing in a market of approximately $72 billion (assuming $1,000 per ton, with a yield of 4 tons per acre). As a wine maker selling premium table wines, you would be sharing in a market of approximately $193 billion (assuming an average selling price of $65 per case to wholesalers.) As a wine retailer you would be sharing in a market of approximately $400 billion and this doesn't include spirits...
Wine is Big Business...
Betsy & Paul