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U.S. Poised to Become Global Wine Leader by 2008

A new study shows that after France and Italy, the United States is the world’s third-largest consumer of table wines. And if that growth stays steady, the U.S. will become the global leader by 2008.

Take a bow, America. You now qualify as a true wine-drinking nation, according to the survey of 1,400 core and marginal wine drinkers commissioned by the Wine Market Council, a California-based trade group whose mission it is to grow the consumer base of the United States wine market.

According to data from the Adams Beverage Group cited in an annual study conducted by the Merrill Research firm, 2006 marked the 12th consecutive year that total table wine consumption increased in the U.S. In fact, for the first time in history, more than 250 million cases of wine were sold in the U.S. last year, a 3.3% gain over 2005. Meanwhile, adult per-capita consumption reached 2.88 gallons last year, with all signs pointing to increased consumption in future years.

And why are such trends being looked at so fondly by the U.S. wine industry? Because there are currently an estimated 70 million Americans that fall into the category of Millennials (ages 13 to 30), and it’s this class of consumers—even if many are not yet old enough to legally drink—that is showing a greater interest in wine than any preceding population segment.

Other key findings:

  • Roughly 70% of wine purchased in America was domestic, down from 77% in 2003.
  • Among the factors that are driving wine purchasing, wine type or varietal is the most influential, followed by  price, brand, origin, vintage and packaging.
  • With wineries operating in all 50 states, more than 60% of consumers have tried a wine from their home state.
  • Among those who drink wine, the U.S. is split 50-50 between “core” wine drinkers (defined as at least one glass of wine per week) and “marginal” wine drinkers (at least once glass of wine every three months.
  • Core wine drinkers purchase 92% of the wine bought in America, while marginal drinkers buy only 8%.
  • Males comprise the majority of core wine drinkers while women comprise the bulk of the marginal wine drinkers category.
  • 70% of wine consumed in the U.S. last year was purchased for between $6-15.
  • 30% of all wine consumed is drunk in restaurants or bars, while 41% of on-premise sales are by-the-glass.Wine Market Council reports are available only to its members:,

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