GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Guardian carries an article that tries to puzzle out why the Vatican – population 800 and a bit, heavy on the adults – has such high wine consumption and why it rose in just one year from 62 litres per person to 74.
The only good explanation seems to be an accounting error at first sight.
The statistics come from the California Wine Institute. So let’s compare those numbers to what the OIV in Paris says. BK Wine Institute last year ran a story on global consumption that put Luxembourg at the top with 50 litres per person, but the writer suggested that the wine is cheaper than in neighbouring countries, so there’s probably a cross-border factor here.
The Vatican isn’t even a blimp on that statistical map. Oddly, because the ranking is suddenly zooming around and therefore appears to be new, the Vatican’s tippling news was reported last September in at least one financial publication.
Digging a bit I see that the Vatican was first every year from 2006 to 2009 and that the city-state’s population was 932 back in 2009. A small change in numbers but one that could have a statistical impact. Looking at a second set of rankings published by the California Wine Institute, covering some of the same years, I see that the Vatican zoomed up from 62 to 79 litres per person and back down.
Then I see in another table that Switzerland in 2008 consumed 38.02 litres per person. But on the table for 2006 to 2009 the Swiss are recorded as drinking 38.28 litres in 2008. Several other figures from the two tables don’t match.
The Wine Institute says wine consumption in California is clearly on the rise. I’m beginning to think they need to watch who’s pouring in the back office.
Another thought: there was that problem with the Vatican butler not so long ago, and here is a delightful photo of him pouring for the pope. No one has accused him of hogging the wine, that I’m aware of. Still, could it be that the butler did it, in the pantry, with a corkscrew?
Here’s more on popes and their wine from Reuters, in 2009.