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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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consumption of wine throughout the world fell from a peak of around 285 million hl/7,500 million gal a year in the years 1976–80 to about 225 million hl in the early 2000s, a slight increase on the late-1990s level, and then peaked at about 255 million hl in 2007, only to fall in the wake of the global financial crisis to about 240 million hl by 2013. Total world production continues to be considerably more than this, resulting in a serious global wine surplus that is most acute in Europe, the most important producer and consumer of wine if regarded as a continent. But on a national level, by 2014 the US had pulled ahead of France to become the world’s biggest consumer of wine. The main reason for the drop in global consumption has been sharp falls in average wine consumption by France and Italy, traditionally the world’s two most important producers and consumers of wine. The generation of Frenchmen and Italians who routinely consumed a litre of wine a day is with us no more, and wine consumption has been falling even faster in Spain. These plummeting consumption levels in Europe’s most important wine-producing countries have been offset not just by steady growth in the US but by a dramatic increase in wine consumption in China, which was the world’s fifth most important market for wine after the US, France, Italy, and Germany, by 2012. Sixth biggest market, according to oiv figures, was the UK which imports more wine than any country other than Germany.