U.S. Surpasses France as World’s Largest Wine-Consuming Nation

According to figures recently released by wine industry consultants

Champagne Toast

Champagne Toast

Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates the U.S. surpassed France as the world’s largest wine-consuming nation in 2010.

California wine accounted for a 61% volume share of the total U.S. wine market with sales at 199.6 million cases, up 1% from the previous year. Retail value was $18.5 billion. California’s total wine shipments worldwide to all markets in the U.S. and abroad (including exports) were 241.8 million cases, up 2% from the previous year.

“ Americans are increasingly interested in a lifestyle with wine and food, demonstrated by the presence of wineries in all 50 states and 17 consecutive years of growth in U.S. wine consumption,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.

” Wine consumption is still a low 2.6 gallons per capita, but the adult population is growing every year as echo boomers come of age and adopt wine just as their baby boomer parents did,” said Jon Fredrikson of The Gomberg-Fredrikson Report. Many new creative wines were introduced last year to keep consumers excited, including value-priced Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and off-dry wines, as well as affordable Pinot Noir from inland California regions. Sales of high-end wines remained challenging, but marketers used social media technology to reach increasingly wired consumers, said Fredrikson.

California Varietal Table Wine Trends

U.S. market by varietal sales were led by Chardonnay, up 5% to over 53 million cases. Cabernet Sauvignon also grew rapidly, rising 6% to nearly 33 million cases. Other California bottled varietals growing notably in sales included Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Riesling and Muscat.

Sparkling Wine/Champagne Sales in the U.S.

Sparkling wine and champagne had a remarkable year, up 10% in the U.S, suggesting that consumers may be broadening their use of these wines beyond special occasions. The category’s 15.4 million cases represent 4.6% of all wine sales in the U.S., of which the majority is produced in California.