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The world’s biggest winemakers

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Investing in wine - December 2012

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    According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the five largest producers of wine in 2010 were:

    Italy

    In 2010, the southern European country produced approximately 4.58m metric tonnes of wine, making it the largest wine-producing country in the world, according to the FAO.

    The Italian wine classification system has just four categories; the highest classification, the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), was introduced in 1963.

    France

    The second-largest wine producing country in the world, with 4.54m metric tonnes in 2010, France is forever vying with Italy for the top spot. In 2010, it had the second largest vineyard coverage with approximately 2.04m acres, according to Trade Data and Analysis from The Wine Institute.

    France is one of the best known wine-producing countries, boasting regions including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, Loire, Provence and, of course, Champagne, located in the north-west of the country.

    Spain

    With approximately 3.61m metric tonnes in 2010, Spain is better known for red wines such as Rioja, although this is also available in white varieties.

    The country has the greatest vineyard coverage – roughly 2.48m acres in 2010, equivalent to 15.1 per cent of the total acreage in the world. In addition to traditional wines, Spain is noted for production of Sherry and other fortified wines.

    US

    The US produces significantly less wine than the top three countries – roughly 2.21m metric tonnes in 2010 – although wine consumption in the country is steadily increasing, rising from 568m gallons in 2000 to 784m gallons in 2010.

    The most notable region for wine in the US is California. There were roughly 3,350 bonded wineries in the state in 2010, almost half the total in the country. This has increased significantly from 2000, when there were fewer than 3,000 across the US.

    China

    China has gradually been creeping up the table of largest wine producers, finally displacing Argentina in the fifth spot in 2008 and keeping its place for the next two years. It produced approximately 1.66m metric tonnes of wine in 2010.

    This production capacity is growing, helped by the fact it has the fifth largest coverage of vineyards with roughly 1.17m acres, equivalent to 5.7 per cent of the world total.

    However, there is still some catching up to do in terms of consumption: in 2010, China languished in ninth place with approximately 929m litres, compared with 2.91bn in the US.

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