Wine Press: 5 reasons why Americans drink more wine than ever

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Wine Press: 5 reasons why Americans drink more wine than ever


Source: Mass Live

Ken Ross

October 17, 2016


More Americans are drinking more wine than ever before.


That fact comes from the Wine Institute, an organization that has been compiling data on wine consumption in the United States since 1934, a year after Prohibition ended in our country.


In 2015, the total amount of wine consumed in the United States was 2.83 gallons per resident, which works out to about 14 bottles of wine per year or roughly one glass of wine per week. And that figure has been going up every year since 2008. In fact, if you’re wondering which years were the years with the highest wine consumption per person in the United States, all you have to do is look at the statistics for the last 10 years. Every year, Americans have been drinking more wine than ever before.


And while 2.83 gallons per person might seem like a lot, consider how much wine the average person drinks in France. According to the most recent statistics, the average person in France drank 11.7 gallons of wine in 2013, according to the website Statistica. Or to put it another way, that’s just over 59 bottles of wine per year or about 1 bottle of wine per week. And those numbers are down in recent years.


In contrast, overall beer consumption in the United States went down by 0.2 percent nationwide in 2015, according to the Brewers Association of Boulder, Colorado.


So why is wine increasingly so popular in the United States? I have a few theories. In fact, I have five theories. And here they are, my friends.


5) Wine’s healthy – The health benefits of wine, particularly red wine, have been well documented for decades. Want to lower your blood pressure? Reduce the risk of heart disease? Live longer? Many doctors for many years have recommended drinking moderate amounts of wine, especially red wine.


The CBS News program “60 Minutes” famously broadcasted a segment on its show in 1991 documenting the health benefits of red wine.


More recently, researchers have been trying to figure out why residents on one Greek island live much longer than most people. Several theories exist. But one thing researches have noted is residents there regularly drink wine. Best of all, even if the researchers are wrong, I don’t many older people will complain about “having” to drink wine.


4) Wine’s affordable – I know what some of you might be thinking. Wine costs a fortune, especially if you order a glass or a bottle of wine at a fancy restaurant. There, you can easily spend as much as the rest of your meal on a bottle of great wine.


But if you regularly buy wine in a wine store (and regularly read this column), you know that there are many great bargains to be found out there. You can easily find many great wines for under $10 a bottle.


Don’t get me wrong. I agree that there are some really bad, cheap wines out there. But often, how great or how bad a wine tastes has nothing to do with price. I’ve had some terrific $10 bottles of wine and I’ve had some real stinkers I spent $20 or more on per bottle.


3) Wines cover wide range – You could literally spend the rest of your life drinking a different bottle of wine every single week. Even within France or states like California, the variety of wine is staggering.


Wines made from grapes from vineyards a few miles apart can taste radically different. That’s because so many different factors come into play when it comes to making wine. When the grapes were picked, where they’re stored and how long they’re aged before bottling can make a dramatic difference in how a wine tastes. Even wines from the same winery from a different year can taste very different.


Some people might find such differences in taste from one year to the next (or one winery to the text) confusing and frustrating. I think it’s thrilling. The more you learn about wine, the more you realize there’s more to learn. And I can’t think of a more fun way to learn more about something that by trying different wines from around the world.


2) Wine’s cool – I realize some people have some outdated ideas about wine drinkers. My colleague, the “Beer Nut,” wrote last week about a study (commissioned by the impartial beer maker, Budweiser) which asked people to characterize people based on what type of alcohol they drink. Survey respondents categorized male wine drinkers primarily as “serious” and “reserved” and female wine drinkers primarily as “predictable” and “cautious.”


Give me a break. Wine drinkers come in all shapes and sizes. Sure, there are a few jerks out there who drink wine to vainly try to impress other people. But in my experience, most people who drink wine do so for the exact opposite reason – because they love wine and love learning about different things and the world around them.


So this reason goes out to all the “serious,” “cautious” wine drinkers out there. Some people might call you arrogant or dorky. I call these people cool. Because who doesn’t want to learn more about the world around them? And like I said up above, I can’t think of a more interesting way to learn about a country like France or Argentina, Italy or New Zealand than to drink wine made with grapes from there.


1) Wine tastes great – I can go on and on about the health benefits or the low cost or how much you can learn about a place by drinking wine. But in the end, there’s really only one thing that really matters – how wine tastes.


And if you’re crazy about wine like me, you know that wine tastes absolutely fantastic. And best of all, a wine’s flavors can change dramatically over the course of an hour or even during a single sip. What might start out as slightly harsh can become smooth and velvety and rich, all in a matter of a few seconds.


But don’t just take my word for it. Raise a glass of wine to wine itself and have a sip or two tonight in honor of this wonderful, magical elixir made from grapes from around the world for thousands of years.