Tuesday, January 9, 2007

To the Moon, Alice – US Wine Consumption Takes Off

Wine consumption worldwide is absolutely immense, however in the U.S. wine consumption only now appears to be fermenting. Unlike soccer viewer ship, data shows that wine consumption is on a significant upswing in the U.S. We’re still well behind our European friends, but we’re beginning to embrace wine on a more large-scale and demographically diverse level. Is it possible we silly Americans are beginning to appreciate the finer things in life? You be the judge.

According to research commissioned by The Wine Institute, U.S. consumers swirled, sniffed and swigged a total of 703 million gallons of wine. That is 35 million gallons more than 2004, or 5.2 percent. What’s more, the 703 million gallons of wine consumed is an increase of 133 million gallons over the 570 million consumed in 2000 – or an astonishing 23.3 percent.

In fact, according to data provided on The Wine Institute website, 2000-2005 saw the greatest gallon consumption increase of any five year span since the Institute started tracking in 1934. The consumption increase, 23.3 percent, also saw the total wine per resident increase from 2.03 gallons in 2000 to 2.37 gallons in 2005.

Similar data from Impact Databank's 2006 report on the U.S. wine market, published by M. Shanken Communications, shows a 45 percent increase in wine consumption over 30 years. According to their data, per capita, Americans in 1975 drank 2.18 gallons of wine compared with 3.17 gallons in 2005.

Is wine consumption entering the mainstream U.S. lifestyle? Perhaps this statement says it best of all. Wine Enthusiast published a story in one of its 2006 issues that stated wine consumption surpassed beer consumption in the U.S. in 2006. How’s that you ask? I have no idea. It could be any number of factors, but according to the article, millennials (young adults defined as age 29 and under), have embraced the sophisticated image that wine imparts to them, just like their baby boomer parents. Sophisticated image? Interesting.

Could it be that soon we will walk into the local watering hole and ask “what do you have decanting?” instead of “what do you have on tap?” My guess would be not quite yet, but apparently we wine aficionados are growing in force. Either that, or our alcohol tolerance has increased immensely causing each of us to drink more. Whatever the case, we should be happy about it.

While we can’t pinpoint the cause of the trend, let’s hope it continues because more demanding consumers will keep wine producers on their toes…striving to create a perfect wine to sooth all palates. And that my friends benefits us all.

For more information on the data used for this article, please visit
Until next time, remember to swirl, sniff and swig. Cheers.


Chenoa said...

This blog is a joy to read. It makes me wish i could drink at my desk. Keep up the good work.

Sergeant-At-Arms said...

Walking into a bar and asking for a glass of wine instead of a pint of beer? I believe it could happen. By the way, viewership is one word.