Washington DC is the thirstiest non-state in America!

Yesterday, several readers of this site showed off just how smart they are by rapidly answering the question about which state consumes the most wine in America. In fact, it was a trick question because it is our nation’s capital, Washington, DC that holds the state wine-drinking crown. But it’s not even a state! New Hampshire is the thirstiest state in America with both taxation and representation. Congratulations to Alex on guessing DC and JB for being Jill on the spot with her guess of New Hampshire.

The rate of wine consumption is 7.79 gallons per adult per year for DC and 6.29 for NH according to Adams Wine Handbook 2006. Although those figures are way above the national average of 3.09 gallons per adult American, they are still below France, which has about 14 gallons per person.

For some local perspective on why Washington is at the top of the charts, I spoke this morning with Scott, the general manager at the wine store Schneider’s of Capitol Hill.

He pointed to the general trend of wine being increasingly popular in America. But he got specific about local wine consumption, saying that there’s a positive correlation between wine consumption and income, noting the amount of white-collar jobs in DC, particularly at new government jobs such as the Department of Homeland Security.

“In this town, it seems that a lot of business is done around wine. More so than anywhere else I’ve lived. It seems that there’s always a bottle of wine open,” he said. He also noted the cosmopolitan nature of the city with many people from countries rich in wine tradition.

In his Capitol Hill neighborhood, he said the food choices were improving too with many good restaurants and farmers’ markets. “If we were all eating brats, we’d probably be drinking beer.” He said there is a lot of demand for investment-grade wines to stock cellars in area homes.

He also mentioned the ability of shops in the District to import wine directly, which means “we have wines that nobody else has.” So alluring is the offering, he says, that Virgina and Maryland residents who don’t have as many specialty shops load up the car before heading home.

So say cheers to DC for drinking this much wine–especially since the place shuts down in August!

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6 Responses to “Washington DC is the thirstiest non-state in America!”

  1. Homeland Security –> more wine consumption?


    That may be the first positive thing I’ve heard about the Department.

  2. I am not entirely sure you can correlate DHS with the wine consumption, but if I ran a business on Cap Hill I would be reticent to go on the record as having said “with record amounts of money being spent on lobbying, there’s a ton of cash sloshing around town.” A more likely cause of booming wine sales on the Hill, but saying it might be akin biting the hand that feeds him.

    I can put in a big enough plug for Schneider’s as a wine shop, though. They really helped me do my part to keep DC on top. One of the few places I have been where you can ask anyone on staff for a recommendation in any price range and not be disappointed. The staff is great, and really knows what’s in the store, and when something’s not in the store they are willing to put in a hell of an effort to get it. We were turned onto them by a friend, walked in, looked at someone on the floor and said “we’re leaving for Tuscany in 6 months and want to learn more about the wine by drinking it, what we should drink?” We walked out with a case a half-hour and lots of conversation latter, and repeated to process a few times. What more can you ask for?

  3. Dr. Vino-

    There is a large concentration of Young professionals Mid-20’s to mid 30’s. This demographic is really pushing the U.S. towards being the highest per capita wine consuming nation. I am 28 and probably contribute 30 to 40 gallons into the average. Cheers!

  4. […] First time here? Check out the "site highlights," send in a question, subscribe to the latest posts by RSS, or daily email. Thanks for visiting!Maryland, the home of the Fightin’ Terps, threatens to turn its wine lovers into perps: The laws governing these five and a half million residents make it a felony to order wine online and have it shipped to their homes. To purchase wines, consumers residing Annapolis, Baltimore or along the Chesapeake must buy from a local store; comparison shopping through retailers on the internet or ordering directly from a winery is illegal. (Small wonder neighboring DC is the thirstiest non-state in the nation.) […]

  5. […] wine shipped to them. So many have it shipped to friends in Virginia or offices in DC (remember how DC is the thirstiest non-state in the nation?). It’s a miserable inconvenience and the Maryland law should simply be changed. […]

  6. I am doing research on behalf of a company for a class project on what region of the USA, has the highest consumption of wine and wine spirits. I am going a bit crazy because I need to find reliable sources in order to support my findings. The purpose of this research is for potentially entering the US wine market. Could you please help me or direct to what sources you have used to figure out all of your information? I am specifically looking for statistics, graphs, articles, etc. I would really appreciate it. Thank you.


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