Wine is a cultural signifier with a reach beyond what most Americans may realize. It may not be as all-consuming in the United States as in a place like France or Italy (where we're pretty sure you're legally required to drink a well-paired glass at dinner or the Culinary Police show up and give you a stern lecture). However, wine is still a massive part of our culture. Beer may often be seen as the American drink par excellence whether you're into craft beer or something like Budweiser, but from Wine Wednesdays to Wine Moms, whether you're more into red or white, wine is more pervasive than you might think.
Some of this, though, varies by region. Unsurprisingly, some states are way more into wine than others. So, which U.S. states imbibe the most fermented grapes? The answer varies whether you're talking volume or per capita, but certain regional trends form a clear pattern: On a per-capita basis, the West and Northeast love their wine.
Read more: 10 Of The Healthiest Beers You Can Drink
California And Washington D.C. Lead The Way
The volume winner is no surprise here: California by a mile. This is partially due to just having significantly more people than anywhere else -- the other highest states by volume are Florida, Texas, New York, Illinois, and North Carolina, in that order -- but it's also due to location. California produces 81% of the country's total wine output, much of it from the famed Napa Valley, and if the source is right at hand, it's not surprising people would drink more of it.
On a per capita basis, the winner here isn't even technically a U.S. state; it's the home of taxation without representation itself: Washington, D.C. At 1.01 gallons per individual in 2022, the District is well ahead of the nearest competitor, New Hampshire, which sits at 0.84 gallons. Part of this is self-selecting; as the nation's capital, D.C. has a lot of people working in politics or lobbying, and those are going to be groups that typically favor the high-class aesthetics of wine over, say, Coors Light. And anyone who has ever dealt with D.C. traffic at rush hour probably needed a large glass of wine afterward.
Which Regions Drink The Most, And Which Barely Drink At All?
The heaviest amounts of wine vary by region, whether you're talking per capita or volume. Per capita, the West and Northeast dominate (California is doing a disproportionate share of the heavy lifting for the West here). Still, the most significant total amount of consumption comes from the South. Despite most states not ranking highly in per-capita consumption (Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia are the exceptions), the South still has so many people that it ranks first in regional consumption.
As far as which states drink the least wine, you're probably immediately thinking of Utah. Owing to its Mormon-dominated population, the Beehive State has the most restrictive drinking laws in the country, which restricts what percentage of alcohol by volume may be sold on tap. But while Utah ranks low on the list at 0.20 gallons per person, it's only the fourth-least; Kansas, Oklahoma, and then West Virginia at a minuscule 0.11 gallons per person come in dead last. This starts to make some sense when you realize all three rate much higher in beer consumption per capita; they're just not as into wine compared to other alcohol.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.