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Worldwide Drinking Ages



In the United States, while you become an adult at age 18, you have to wait three years before you're allowed to drink. For three long years, adults that can marry, have children, vote, and die in armed conflict, are unable to drink Champagne to celebrate their victories, or port to soothe their heartaches. How does this compare to other countries?

Mexico, to the south, has a drinking age of 18. There is little wine in Mexico, due to its hot and dry climate.

Canada, to the north, has a drinking age of 18 in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. The rest of Canada has a drinking age of 19. They create some delicious ice wines and rieslings, especially in the Niagara region of Ontario.

The United Kingdom has an interesting situation. Parents may purchase alcohol for their children to drink with a meal once they turn 5. A 16 year old can buy alcohol on their own to drink with a meal, and once the young adult is 18, they can buy alcohol for any purpose.

Ah, France. Country of wine! The drinking age here is 18, and wine is served with practically every meal. In Germany you can drink beer or wine at 16, but wait until 16 for hard liquor. Germany is a country known well for its beer but which also creates some delicious eiswein. Italy does not have a drinking age at all, but has the highest volume of wine produced by any country.

Further east, Australia is now well known for its wide variety of wines, and has a drinking age of 18. Nearby New Zealand is slightly more strict - you can drink at age 18 with an adult with you, but must be 21 to drink on your own.

In Japan, the legal drinking age is 20, but you are essentially allowed to drink once you turn 18. There are even vending machines that dole out small bottles of alcohol in various locations.


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