Wine Stats

Friday, May 20, 2022

This week I am discussing a couple of interesting statistics.

TOP 10 WINE DRINKING COUNTRIES:  According to OIV these are the top 10 wine drinking countries for 2021:

US: 33.1mhl, up 0.7% versus 2020

France: 25.2mhl, up 8.6%

Italy: 24.2mhl, flat versus 2020

Germany: 19.8mhl, flat versus 2020

UK: 13.4mhl, flat versus 2020

Spain: 10.5mhl, up nearly 10%

China: 10.5, down 15.4%

Russia: 10.5mhl, up 2%

Argentina: 5.9mhl, down 11%

Australia: 5.9mhl, flat versus 2020

(mhl is millions of hectolitres = hundreds of millions of litres)

Which country drinks the most wine per person?  The top 10 countries in terms of per capita wine consumption are:

Portugal: 51.9 litres

France: 46.9 litres

Switzerland: 35.3 litres

Austria: 30.6 litres

Australia: 28.7 litres

Germany: 27.5 litres

Spain: 26.2 litres

Netherlands: 26.1 litres

Belgium: 26 litries

Woohoo! We are 6th on the per person consumption list – I reckon with a bit of effort we can outdo the Austrians and move up into 5th spot!!! Are you doing your bit towards this target? I know that I am.

PS: China currently drinks 0.80 litres per person, which leads me to the next topic:

WINE in CHINA:  Unsurprisingly for a Communist regime, there is a lot of “smoke and mirrors” going on about China’s wine sales at the moment. I keep reading postings about how this or that winery has experienced significant sales growth, for example, they are quoting that Silver Heights Winery in Ningxia Province has experienced a 60% increase in sales over the last 12 months. Other stories that hint/suggest that China is in the process of becoming the world’s most important wine market, with Wine Intelligence advising that there are 52 million regular wine drinkers in China. Other reports say the Chinese are busy planting thousands of hectares of new vineyards, so that by now they could be second only to Spain in their grape acreage.

Cool! But it would appear to be mainly communist propaganda, given that in 2020 the country’s overall wine consumption sank by nearly 17.5% from the previous year. That is a reduction of around 180 million litres in consumption in the one year, or the equivalent to 30% of Australia’s total wine production.

Furthermore, statistics show that between 2014 and 2019 China’s wine production fell by 50% – given that in 2014 they were growing more grapes than what Australia did, the 50% drop was a massive decline, which places the claim that they are now second only to Spain in vineyard area in severe doubt.

It looks like even the central governments push towards “drink Chinese wine” and slugging their biggest wine import supplier (Australia) with an outlandish and unjustified 212% tax, has done little to nothing towards resurrecting the local wine industry.

To compound the problem even more for “ordinary” Chinese wineries, the colossus Changyu Pioneer Wine Company (est. 1892), China’s largest producer by far with over 100 brands/labels and 43% of the market, reported a dollar sales growth of just over 16%. This includes an increase of 54% in “direct to consumer” sales, as younger Chinese have been “early adopters” of online shopping right across the board.

So imagine what the downturn must be like for the smaller and independent wineries. Catastrophic is the word that comes to mind to describe their plight.

As they say in the classics, “this does not compute”, and I would therefore venture to suggest that the wine industry in China is in a world of strife and overseas wineries who export to China will soon start feeling some of the pain that the Australian former wine exporters to China are currently feeling.

Let us hope that our exporters can fairly quickly find new markets for their wines.


Wines of Adelaide will be conducting a big trade tasting of exciting European wines, some rarer Aussie wines and the “Australian Wine Showcase Magazine’s Top 50 wines”, in Sydney on September 5, at the Royal Automobile Club in Circular Quay.

They have kindly offered 5 double-passes for readers of this Blog. The event goes from 11.00am through to 6.00pm and having tasted most of the wines involved, I can assure you that there are some absolute crackers in the line-up. I will be there as will Australian wineries such as Trifon Estate from the Goulburn Valley and Koonowla Wines from the Clare Valley, as well as the editor of Australian Wine Showcase Magazine.

Please email me directly at if you would like a free double-pass to this awesome event. Remember, first in best dressed.

Cheers, have a great week and stay safe!

This Week's Wine Review:

This week I am talking about Pinot Noir, a subject I rarely talk about as the variety frustrates the stuffing’s out of me. I have tasted some outstanding Pinot Noirs over the last 35 years in the wine industry, from Bass Philip, Giaconda, Soumah, Two Paddocks and a handful of others including some sensational Burgundies, most notably the breathtaking Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC), tasted with Aubert de Villaine.

However, in general terms Pinot Noir drives me crazy, due to its price, variability and the number of mediocre producers around, so that finding a great value Pinot is like playing Russian roulette – very much a hit or miss affair. Even a good producer, due to seasonal variability will let you down with an iffy vintage. So I gave up and moved on to exploring the excitement of new emerging varieties.

Well stop the Press: I just found a brilliant value for money Pinot in the new releases tasting parcel I received from Aldi the other day. Well worth talking about!

The Les Argelières 2020 Pinot Noir Grand Cuvée from Réunis à Cébazan Pays d’Oc IGP, is smashing! It is young, vibrant and juicy with attractive aromas of strawberries and raspberries plus a hint of spices. On the palate there is spicy cherries with just a smidge of fine vanillin oak tannins on the delightful, elegant finish.

This is no world beating, earth shattering Pinot like DRC et al, but it is superbly easy, tasty drinking and mind-blowing value for money at only $9.99 a bottle, making it this week’s wine of the week.

Hey, I am not the only one impressed by this little beauty, it won a gold medal at the 2021 Berliner Wein Trophy Competition.

So, if you are lucky enough to live in a civilised state where Aldi are allowed to sell wine (not allowed by the dinosaurs in South Australia), get down to your local licenced Aldi supermarket, grab a bottle and see if you agree with me – This is the best value for money Pinot Noir currently available in Australia!!