The Vatican Sets This Surprising Record In Wine Consumption

Vatican City is one of the most unique places in the world for a multitude of reasons. A roughly 100-acre city that is also an independent nation within the confines of Rome, Italy, the mecca of Catholicism is home to about 800 people, according to World Population Review. For such a tiny independent state with a smaller population than many high schools have students, Vatican City is home to some of the most critically acclaimed and historical artwork in the world, not to mention its breathtaking architecture. 

While Vatican City is considered an austere place due to its history and the fact that it has been the home of sitting popes since the 14th century, according to History, it has also held the distinction of being the place where the most wine in the world is consumed per capita, per The Washington Post. However, in 2017 the Vatican lost that title to Norfolk Island, according to Move Hub.

A lot of reporting came out in 2014 after the Wine Institute of California's statistics showed that the people of the Vatican — mostly clergy and those who work for the Catholic Church — drank more wine per capita than any other place in the world, but according to the Académie du Vin Library, by 2021 Portugal took the top spot for per capita wine consumption.

The Vatican is full of childless adults who dine together a lot

There are two ways to measure the rate of wine consumption per country. One is total consumption. According to Académie du Vin Library, that's just what it sounds like — or really, how much wine is sold in a country. Naturally, places with a lot of people who drink wine are going to win that category, like the U.S., which comes in first (woo hoo — winning purple smiles abound!). 

The other way, of course, is per capita. According to The Washington Post when the Vatican took the win for most wine consumed per capita, some of that was based on the use of wine in religious ceremonies, because Catholics get down like that, thanks to Jesus making wine consumption a religious rule. 

Catholic Digest reported that according to the story of the last supper, Jesus told his disciples that the red wine was a symbol of his blood and the bread they ate was a symbol of his body, and the two should be consumed together. Years later, the Catholic Church took that to heart, incorporating blessed wine and communion wafers into their regular mass rituals in what's called "communion." 

But The Washington Post also said that most of the people who live at the Vatican are older, childless, highly educated men who share large meals together where apparently the wine is a-flowin'.