What’s the most popular wine-producing country in the world?

By / Magazine / January 16th, 2018 / 4

What’s the most popular wine-producing country in the world? Talk about your loaded question. No matter what country I say is the most popular, there will no doubt be oodles of you with a differing opinion — especially if you have a vested interest (like being born there) in the wine from a particular piece of geography.

To come to a conclusion that just might stand up to the wrath of the internet trolls, let’s look at three key industry factors: Who makes the most, sells the most and drinks the most.

According to 2016 stats, when it comes to cranking out fermented grape juice, Italy is king of the hill — but not by much. Having topped the charts consistently for much of the 21st century runner-up, France trails its Italian counterpart by a very slim margin. Some crappy vintages have twisted a corkscrew through the heart of many of France’s major regions and, with production on the downswing, allowed Italy to pick its way to a near photo finish. Ongoing “Acts of God” in the vineyards across Europe will no doubt make the race for the top spot too close to call when the 2017 rankings are revealed.

France gets an edge over Italy when it comes to the value of its exports. Arguably the French make some pretty pricey wines which, for some of you, will make this comparison more of a footnote than a bucket check for the crown of most popular.

When it comes to consumption, the Americans drink more than anyone else. Of course, when compared to other western countries there’s a lot more of them to reach for a glass than say, no. 2 France and no. 3 Italy. Even so, the French are only a few points behind the leader, which is impressive when you again consider their headcount.

So with all that taken into consideration, I’m awarding this popularity contest to France. Let the angry emails fly.


Fresh, funny and down-to-earth, Peter Rockwell is the everyman's wine writer. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia he's worked in the liquor industry for over 30 years and has written about wine, spirits & beer since graduating from the School of Journalism at the University of King's College in 1986. His reviews and feature articles have been published in Tidings, Vines, Occasions, Where and on Alliant.net to name a few; he has been a weekly on-air wine feature columnist for both CBC-TV and Global Television and his wine column 'Liquid Assets' appeared weekly in two of Nova Scotia's daily newspapers, 'The Halifax Daily News' and 'The Cape Breton Post.' Today Peter's irreverent answer man column 'Bon Vivant' appears each month in Tidings Magazine and his weekly 'Liquid Assets' column is published across Canada in editions of the METRO newspaper. When not drinking at home, and at work, Peter travels the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.

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