[The International Organization of Vine and Wine] says its initial estimates for 2008 show consumption down 0.8 percent, at 243 million hectoliters (6.4 billion gallons) compared to 2007's 245 million hectoliters.
Source: Huffington Post
It's hard to conceive of 6.4 billion gallons of wine, never mind conceive of how that really only represents a small change in wine consumption.
- For the first time, the United States surpassed Italy in terms of total wine consumption, with 27.3 million hectoliters compared to 26 million for Italy, the group said.
- On the vineyard end, European vineyards accounted for less than half the world's grape production for the first time last year.
- Consumption fell in all of Europe's major wine-producing and consuming countries, including France, Italy and Germany, Europe's biggest wine-drinking nations.
It's interesting that the declines were primarily in Europe, with other regions staying about the same or perhaps increasingly slightly. Was 2008 economically worse for Europe than for other regions? Are Europeans becoming less interested in wine?