Discover the 4 Countries That Produce the Most Wine

Silhouette of a glass of red wine and wine bottle at sunset with Virginia mountains in the background.
© MargJohnsonVA/Shutterstock.com

Written by Carrie Woodward

Published: December 30, 2023

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For thousands of years, people have made wine: a fermented grape-based drink that has had cultural, religious, and culinary importance in communities around the world. The most simple definition of wine is that it is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of grapes. However, there are thousands of varieties of wine grapes and hundreds of types of wine – most of which fall into the categories of white, red, rose, sparkling, fortified, and dessert wines. Wine is popular around the world, and wine production takes place in all corners of the earth. However, did you know that just four countries produce over half of the world’s wine. What are these four countries? Let’s dive in to learn about the countries that produce the most wine now! 

About the Analysis

white wine with grapes on old wooden table

Wine is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from grapes.

©Andreas-Saldavs/iStock via Getty Images

Before we dive in to discover the countries that produce the most wine, there are a few terms to define. The statistics shared in this article describe amounts of wine by “hectoliter.” What is a hectoliter? A hectoliter is a metric unit of measurement used most often when discussing wine, beer, or other agricultural goods. One hectoliter (sometimes written as “hl”) is the equivalent of 100 liters. To use a comparison that many readers in the United States are familiar with, 100 liters is about 26.4 liquid gallons. 1 hectoliter of wine is roughly equivalent to 130 bottles of wine.

With that explanation out of the way, let’s learn about the top wine-producing countries in the world!

Italy

The beautiful village of La Morra and its vineyards in the Langhe region of Piedmont, Italy.

Piedmont is a wine region in Italy with beautiful villages like La Morra and acres of vineyards.

©e55evu/iStock via Getty Images

Leading the world’s global production of wine is Italy, a European country that currently makes more wine than any other country in the world. In 2022, Italy produced 49.8 million hectoliters of wine. 

Wine is a vital part of Italian culture, and as a result, Italy has become a top destination for wine-lovers from around the world. From Tuscany to Emilia-Romagna, the different regions of Italy have something for everyone searching for the best wines in the world.

As you cross the countryside of Italy, you also traverse the country’s 20 different wine regions. A few of the most popular wine regions in Italy are Veneto, Tuscany, and Piedmont, all of which produce some of the highest-quality Italian wine. However, Sicily is the region with more vineyards than any other.

France

Grape vines at Château Margaux in the Bordeaux wine Médoc

France is a leading producer of the world’s wine.

©OceanProd/ via Getty Images

In 2022, second on the list of countries that produce the most wine is France. Yes, this Western European country famous for pastries and the Eiffel Tower is also a leading producer of wine. In 2022, France produced 45.6 million hectoliters of wine. 

The French tradition of winemaking is rooted deeply in the country’s culture and goes back centuries, perhaps even to the Roman conquerors who planted vines in the same famous regions of France that are well-known for making the best wines today. France is able to produce such a variety of wines thanks to its diverse geography and varied climates across different parts of the country – from warm and dry to cool.

France’s main wine regions are Bordeaux, Burgundy, Languedoc, Champagne, the Loire Valley, Alsace, Rhone, Provence, and Corsica. Each of these famous wine-making regions are known for having its own unique grape varieties, environmental conditions, and winemaking practices.

Spain

Vitis vinifera grape vines cultivated in making farm vineyard in Ribeira Sacra, Galicia, Spain

In Spain, winemakers cultivate grape vines in areas such as Ribeira Sacra, Galicia.

©jessicahyde/Shutterstock.com

Next on the list of countries that produce the most wine is Spain. This country in Southwestern Europe produced 35.7 million hectoliters of wine in 2022.

Wine production has a pivotally important role in Spain, not just in contributing to the country’s economy in a significant way, but also in how it shapes the country’s culture, approach to environmental conservation, and community development. Spanish winemaking is said to date back centuries, but the country’s ascendancy to becoming one of the world’s top producers of wine is relatively recent. It was only in the 20th century that the country’s investment in new and redeveloped vineyards helped Spain’s wine production grow immensely to become a top wine-producing country in the world.

Though Spain’s wine regions are not as well known by name as those in Italy and France, the country can be broken up into different wine regions. According to some classifications, Spain has 138 distinct wine regions. However, the most important takeaway from that fact is to remember that no matter where you travel in Spain, a vineyard is never far away. Many people break up Spain’s wine regions into 7 groups, based on their distinct climates, geography, and culture. The best wine in Spain really depends on what you are looking for in this diverse country. You could visit Rioja, Catalonia, Galicia, Ribeiro, or Valdeorras – it just depends on what you are looking for!

The United States

Panorama of a Vineyard with Oak Tree., Sonoma County, California, USA

Sonoma County in California is a top destination for wine-tasting at the finest American vineyards.

©Gary Saxe/Shutterstock.com

Next on the list of countries that produce the most wine is Spain. This country in Southwestern Europe produced 35.7 million hectoliters of wine in 2022.

Rounding out the list of countries that produce the most wine is the United States. Even though it produced by far the smallest amount of wine in 2022 compared to Italy, France, and Spain, its 22.4 million hectoliters of wine far surpass the fifth-top wine-producing country in the world, Australia, which only produced 12.7 million hectoliters of wine in 2022.

In the United States, by far the biggest wine-producing region is the state of California, which produces over 80% of all American wine. If you add in the neighboring states of Washington and Oregon, the three West Coast states produce upwards of 90% of all American wine. From the Sonoma Coast of California to Arizona’s Valle Verde, some of the best vineyards in the country are in the western half of the U.S. However, do not be fooled! The East Coast has its own wine country too – consider visiting the Finger Lakes of New York or Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. If you find yourself in the midwest, even Michigan’s midwestern vineyards along the coast of Lake Michigan can be a lovely escape and have delicious wine offerings.

two glasses of white wine overlooking napa valley

The top four wine-producing countries in the world are Italy, France, Spain, and the United States.

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Trends in the Italian Wine Market in 2023

Sadly, Italian wine production took a downturn in 2023. Over the year, extreme weather and fungal diseases took a toll on Italy’s vineyards. In a challenging year for wine production, Italy’s winemakers saw production fall 12% compared to the output of 2022 and caused vineyards to anticipate one of the smallest grape harvests in years. As a result of this tragic loss, France will likely take the award for making the most wine in 2023.

Trends in the French Wine Market in 2023

As Italian wine production suffered in 2023, France moved into the position of largest wine producer in the world according to the OIV World Wide Wine Production report. After nine years of Italy holding onto the leading spot, France took its chance to become the global leader in wine production – not because the country started planting more grapes, but because so many other countries experienced devastating extreme weather. Preliminary estimates show that France harvested about 45.8 million hectoliters in 2023 – but who knows if, in the future, it will also fall victim to the extreme heat, frost, and diseases that have struck other countries’ harvests.

Trends in the Spanish Wine Market in 2023

As Italian wine production suffered in 2023 and France moved into the spotlight, Spain also experienced the detrimental impacts of adverse weather conditions and diseases. The challenging year brought spring drought followed by torrential autumn rainstorms. This extreme weather broke records and had a devastating impact on the harvests of winemakers throughout Spain. As of September, some predicted that Spain would see its wine production fall 20% from the year before.

Trends in the U.S. Wine Market in 2023

While European countries on this list suffered from climate impacts and extreme weather in 2023,  American wine production did not experience any such dramatic impacts. In the last 20 years, wine production in the U.S. grew significantly, allowing for the U.S. to take hold of a larger share of the global market.


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About the Author

Carrie is a writer and fan of all types of plants and animals. Her apartment is home to more than dozen different houseplants and she aspires to adopt more in the near future. You can find Carrie taking long walks or reading a book under the trees in the park.

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