The World Health Organization, which tracks alcohol-related deaths, does an annual report detailing alcohol consumption. The results are always intriguing; the 2011 report noted that "one-in-five men in the Russian Federation and neighbouring countries die due to alcohol-related causes."
The Wine Curmudgeon mentions it here because it sheds a very bright light on something that has come up quite a bit on the blog over the past couple of years. To all of the hullabaloo about the U.S. and its status as an important wine drinking country, the WHO report says, "not really." Alcohol consumption rates in the U.S. lag most of the world, and wine consumption in the U.S. lags beer and spirits consumption. In addition, says the WHO report, countries in the Americas (which would be us), had relatively stable consumption levels.
This is not marketing-driven puff designed to make everyone in the wine business feel better about themselves. These are facts from WHO, an organization that could care less about scores and toasty and oaky. So the wine business can pat itself on the back as much as it wants (which it does), but the facts show the U.S. is not a wine drinking country and doesn't appear to be heading that way. And very few people, other than me, seem bothered by this.
Best yet, there's a map of world booze consumption, courtesy of The Economist magazine (and a tip o' the Curmudgeon's fedora to Lew Perdue at Wine Industry Insight, who ran the map last week).