The average American drinks 3.2 gallons of wine a year. That translates to 872 million gallons. According to Martha Stewart, this is the highest of any nation. And, since many Americans don’t drink at all, the number is misleading. Among drinkers, the measures must be much higher.
A great deal of the wine Americans drink is not from vineyards in this country. The U.S. is the world’s leading importer.
The first commercial winery in the country, opened in 1799, was the appropriately named First Vineyard outside Lexington, Kentucky. Though it was revived in the early years of this century, the original operation didn’t last past the mid-1800s. On the other hand, the Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, New York, vintage 1839, has remained open since its founding, making it the oldest continuously operating winery in America.
New York and especially Kentucky may not be the first places you think of when you think of winemaking, but today there are wineries in every one of the 50 states. Even Hawaii, even Alaska, have wineries — though in the latter case, the wines are based on berries or on grape juice imported from other states. In many other parts of the country, too, fruit other than grapes is used or wine is made from native American or French-American hybrid grapes, not familiar European varieties like merlot or chardonnay.
24/7 Tempo has picked the state with most bonded wineries per capita in every state. Those numbers, as well as the total number of wineries in each state, are based on data published by VinePair, a digital media company producing content related to wine and other alcoholic beverages. VinePair drew the data from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
A bonded winery is one producing wine under a bond guaranteeing payment of federal excise taxes. Most American wineries are bonded, but according to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, any producer owing less than $50,000 per year in taxes will no longer be required to maintain a wine bond, so the actual number of wineries around the country is probably larger than this data indicates.
The state on the top of the list is Oregon. Here are the details:
> Wineries per capita: 21.6 per 100,000 people
> Total number of wineries: 917 — 4th highest
> Population: 4,217,737 — 24th lowest