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11.16.2005

The World's Representative Wine Cellar

All statistics and no essays make Alder a dull boy, but I always seem to get lots of interesting responses when I bother to post facts and figures about the world of wine. So without making it a habit, here's an interesting set of information in the form of a little hypothetical wine cellar. Thanks, by the way to Jack and Joanne over at Fork & Bottle for sending me this information, which they stumbled upon via a link from Mark Squires' Forum over on Robert Parker's web site. Still following along? Good.

So imagine for a moment, if you will, that you wanted to put together a wine cellar that was truly representative of the wine world. Specifically, representative of the quantities of wine produced in each region of the world. For argument's sake, let's say you weren't particularly ambitious, or maybe you were just short on space, so you decided that you wanted your collection to consist of .0001% of the bottles of total wine production of the world each year.

Your wine cellar would contain:

53 French Wines
Ah, so many to choose from. Gotta have a few Northern Rhones, A dozen southern Rhones, half a dozen Loire Valley wines, a score of Burgundies, a couple select red Bordeaux, a few, especially pink wines from Provence, a sauternes or two.

50 Italian
Lots to choose from here, from the bracing whites of northern Italy (definitely some Soave, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco) to the deep reds of Piemonte and Tuscany, to the lovely earthy wines of Puglia and Sicily (with a few excellent pink wines thrown in there).

30.5 Spanish
Grenache, Tempranillo, Cabernet, Primitivo will make up most of this collection, along with some sharp Albarinos and a few Cavas.

21 United States Wines
If I had to choose this would probably be lots of California, Oregon and Washington Pinot Noir, some Napa Cabs, a bunch of Central Coast Syrahs, an a select few Chardonnays, Viogniers, and miscellaneous odd things like Amador County Barbera and Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer.

16 Argentina
I think 16 Malbecs may be more than I'd want in my cellar, so I'd branch out and see what else was up and coming in this region.

11 Chinese
Huh? Eleven Chinese wines? Where do I start?

3.5 Russian
Hmm. This is also a bit of a mystery, but I assume there's some interesting stuff to be had there

and a half bottle of wine from New Zealand
Crikey -- will it be Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot ?

Anyhow. I don't think I have the energy to write witty captions for every country. You get the idea. Interesting stuff.

Top 50 Countries in terms of Wine Production, 2001 (in hectoliters)*:

*For those of us metrically challenged Americans, a hectoliter is about 26 gallons.

1) FRANCE 53,389,000
2) ITALY 50,093,000
3) SPAIN 30,500,000
4) UNITED STATES 21,300,000
5) ARGENTINA 15,835,000
6) CHINA 10,800,000
7) AUSTRALIA 10,163,000
8) GERMANY 8,891,000
9) PORTUGAL 7,789,000
10) SOUTH AFRICA 6,471,000

11) CHILE 5,658,000
12) HUNGARY 5,406,000
13) ROMANIA 5,090,000
14) GREECE 3,477,000
15) RUSSIA 3,430,000
16) BRAZIL 2,968,000
17) AUSTRIA 2,531,000
18) BULGARIA 2,260,000
19) YUGOSLAVIA 2,100,000
20) CROATIA 1,950,000

21) MEXICO 1,411,000
22) MOLDOVA 1,400,000
23) GEORGIA 1,326,000
24) UKRAINE 1,296,000
25) SWITZERLAND 1,113,000
26) JAPAN 1,100,000
27) URUGUAY 1,000,000
28) MACEDONIA 1,000,000
29) SLOVENIA 645,000
30) NEW ZEALAND 530,000

31) CZECH REPUBLIC 518,000
32) CYPRUS 503,000
33) SLOVAKIA 480,000
34) CANADA 445,000
35) UZBEKISTAN 435,000
36) ALGERIA 420,000
37) AZERBAIJAN 400,000
38) TUNISIA 401,000
39) KAZAKHSTAN 300,000
40) MOROCCO 286,000

41) TURKEY 265,000
42) TURKMENISTAN 240,000
43) LEBANON 195,000
44) ALBANIA 142,000
45) LUXEMBOURG 135
46) PERU 128,000
47) BELARUS 99,000
48) MADAGASCAR 89,000
49) PARAGUAY 60,000
50) LITHUANIA 60,000

(this Information obtained from The Wine Institute.)

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud