Since 1994, American wine consumption has experienced year over year growth. Many attribute the sparking of this phenomena to an event that happened a little less than three years prior. In November 1991, “60 Minutes” aired a report about French diets and heart disease rates:
[T]he French Paradox: the fact that the incidence of coronary heart disease in France is 40 percent lower than it is in the United States. This, despite a French diet high in fat and cholesterol. American and French researchers interviewed by “60 Minutes” pointed to an apparent relationship between moderate alcohol consumption, particularly red wine, and a lower rate of heart disease.
We won’t be seeing Amazon Drones dropping off wine anytime soon, but this was a “60 Minutes” report that did get taken seriously; red wine sales quickly jumped. Within a couple of years, all wine sales turned in the right direction. American wine sales bottomed out at 449 gallons in 1993. Since then, we’ve drank more wine than the previous year, every year. Of course we’ve added a lot of people since 1993. And that’s what the chart below shows — per capita wine consumption, per state, since 1994. These numbers are actually misleadingly low, as they use the entire state population, instead of the drinking age population.
There’s an interesting pattern that you can see at play in the animation. Up here in the Northeast we’ve always been liberal with our wine drinking (and by Northeast we include Florida, our warm weather colony). The same goes for the wine producing states on the West Coast. What we find interesting is that the long, steady increase in American wine consumption isn’t a story of the same-old-people just drinking more wine. Rather it’s more people in more states drinking more wine. Now if we could just figure out how to make it easy to buy any wine in any state we’d really be on to something.
Where’s all this wine coming from? We import a lot of wine, but we also produce a lot of wine. In fact, there are over 9,000 wineries in America the last time we counted.
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