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A Little Numeric Wine Trivia

I have always had a tendency to collect bits of obscure knowledge. In fact, back in the 1980s, I reached a point where no one would play Trivial Pursuit with me anymore. Since I have been in the wine business, I have gradually collected some interesting numbers that relate to wine that I thought might make interesting reading.

The average value of an acre of ground on the Napa Valley floor is about $300,000, up from about $11,000 in 1980.

The typical yield for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa is about 3 to 5 tons per acre. Last year the average value of 1 ton of Napa Valley grown Cabernet grapes was $6,285. By contrast, the average price for Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc grapes was $2,012. per ton. That's a pretty good incentive to plant Cabernet.

For comparison, the average price of all California grapes in 2014 was $763 a ton. Location, location, location...

A ton of grapes will yield approximately 720 bottles of wine.

A 60-gallon French oak barrel that holds 300 bottles costs about $1,200.00.

Most high-end Cabernet producers replace 30% to 100% of their oak barrels every year and some Pinot Noir producers, like Domaine Serene, buy new barrels every year.

On the other hand, a "Tea Bag" of 40 pounds of American oak chips for dipping in your stainless steel tank costs about $60... Wonder where all that under $8 wines comes from? I think the guys who make the Two Buck Chuck must use the leftover sawdust...

France still leads the world in wine production with 4.7 billion liters. However, the French are number two in wine consumption, consuming only about 59% of their production, in spite of the fact that they drink 43 liters a year per capita.

Wonder why there is so much cheap Aussie wine (I mean besides the wood chips)? That's because they produce 1.2 billion liters, but only drink about 540 million, about 45%. That's about 24 liters per capita.

We, on the other hand, by population, are a nation of teetotalers! The United States, while being number one in the world for consumption at 3.2 billion liters, consumes only 10 liters per capita, with production of over 3 billion liters. Since there are so many of us, it still works out that we consume 3% more than we produce, so we are actually net importers. Those of us who do drink wine, however, are really doing our part since 10% of the population consumes 90% of the wine!

The least amount of wine in the world is consumed in Egypt where 1/20 of a bottle is consumed per capita - that's a little over an ounce.