Sitting around one day, I came across one of my regular wine review sites and started browsing the latest issues reviews. I'm glad that I'm retired and had lots of time to go through them all. Over 1,800 reviews in one issue. I think that's a lot, although I've never looked at the other sites I frequent for reviews. What really hit me was the thought that this was just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
It got me to thinkin', (don't even start, I know that's dangerous for me), about just how much wine is out there, not just how many wineries or different wines, but in total, what the world produces. Then the other thought that entered my mind (there's plenty of room up there as I've been forgetting a whole bunch of stuff lately) was I wondered how much wine DOESN'T get drunk each year. I mean, come on, there's sooo much wine in just some of the local wine shops I go to and sooner or later the wine that just doesn't sell has to go somewhere. While this really isn't looking into where does all that wine goes, it does make you think about it. Can't give it to some charity, maybe a charitable event, and they're not likely to just give it away. I'd be first or second in line. I may have to do some research soon about the whole issue. But let's return to what I was really thinking.
So I do some searching and actually found a website that gives me what I'm thinking is accurate information. How much wine is produced and consumed each year. They actually have a three year running total, but the numbers don't change much so I'll use the numbers for 2015, the last year the numbers were crunched.
Total worldwide production of wine was reported at 28.4 million liters (sorry no conversion for us Americans). Interestingly, the consumed amount was 24.7 million liters. A difference of 3.7 million liters of wine unaccounted for. That's about 13% of wine production that doesn't get drunk. Or maybe a better way to look at it is that the wine hangs around looking for an owner to sweep in and take it home, my guess is at a deeply discounted price.
As someone who loves tinkering with numbers, there are probably a number of ways you can think about what happens with all that excess. Some wine probably ends up in the next year's totals as consumed, although the wine from that year's production still has to be unaccounted for. I could even ask if the term consumed means sold or something else. Would it include that wine that is given away like I mentioned earlier? Maybe it represents all the wines sitting in stores waiting to be purchased? Or wine purchased and set away in someone's cellar for future consumption.
Bottom line is that there has to be some sort of accounting for all this excess. Haven't found that line item yet, and probably never will, although my quest to see what shops do with unsold wine is on my "To Do List."