US becomes world's top wine market as France's consumption drops

American consumers bought 29.1 million hectolitres of wine in 2013, while French consumption fell nearly 7 percent to 28.1 million hectolitres.

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The United States became the world's biggest wine market last year, beating France into second place for the first time as consumption falls in the country widely seen as the drink's natural home, repoirts the Voice of America.

U.S. consumers bought 29.1 million hectoliters of wine in 2013, a rise of 0.5 percent on 2012, while French consumption fell nearly 7 percent to 28.1 million hectoliters, the International Vine and Wine organization OIV said on Tuesday. U.S. drinkers still are likely way behind, though, in terms of consumption per person.

According to per capita figures that date from 2011, the average French person still gets through almost 1.2 bottles a week, about six times more than the average American, but trends are still diverging.