Little known facts about the world’s biggest wine producers
The greatest challenge with wine is that the more you know, the more you realise you don’t know. Regardless, however, of whether you can tell a terroir by the shade of red, or simply enjoy the act of wine drinking in its own regard, you’re sure to enjoy these few obscure tidbits about the five biggest wine producers of the world.
Italy: 6,590,750 tons
Italian winemaking was originally inspired by the Greeks, who colonised Rome around 1000BC and introduced viticulture to Southern Italy. Around 100BC, winemaking and viticulture was forbidden outside Italy, which led to the flourishing of the Italian wine industry that is still visible today.
France: 4,673,400 tons
France and Italy vie every year for the position of biggest wine producer in the world, and thus these two may swap position on the list every now and again. France has 17 wine-producing regions, all of which came into being when the Greeks colonised the city of Marseille and introduced viticulture to it and the surrounding country.
Spain: 3,339,700 tons
Spain is the most widely planted wine-producing country in the world, but only the third biggest wine producer. This is due to the low yields their vineyards offer, and the wide spacing of their older vines. Spain is also the original home of sherry (known in Spain as Jerez) wine.
United States: 2,211,300 tons
Vikings from Greenland were technically the first Europeans to set foot on North American soil, and they called it “Vinland” because of the proliferous vine growth they found there.
Another interesting fact is that due to Prohibition laws passed in the early 1900s, American taste in wine changed dramatically – before Prohibition, dry wines were massively preferred, but during Prohibition and after the repeal of those amendments, sweet, fortified wines and cheap “jug wines” were sought after instead.
China: 1,657,500 tons
Wine has been produced in China since before the Bronze Age, but seed wines (such as rice wine) have remained prevalent since then, due to their low production cost. Chinese wine production only blossomed in the 1980s, when French Grands Crus were imported and developed.
The biggest wine producers in the world, however, all know about a small country on the bottom end of the world: South Africa. Despite the low production in comparison to the big players, South Africa produces fine quality wines that have been known to rival all of the above-mentioned.