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Celebrating Italian wine on the West Coast

Trends & Stats

Wine Sales Summary

The United States is the largest retail wine market in the world and one of the fastest growing markets in terms of both consumption and production. The market has expanded rapidly in the past few years due to increased consumption, government support, online wine purchasing, and a growing younger population of wine enthusiasts.

Americans consumed more wine than ever before in 2011, which marked the 17th consecutive year of growth in wine consumption. American consumers spent more than $40 billion on wine in 2011, another all-time high, according to Impact Databank.

Overall wine consumption in the U.S. increased from 205 million cases in 2000 to 276 million cases in 2011, according to the Wine Market Council.

Imports vs. Domestics

Of total U.S. wine sales in 2011, 69% represented domestic (mainly California) wines, while 31% represented imported wines, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Of these imports, 66% were from Old World exporters, with Italy at 30%, France at 24%, and Spain at 6%. The other countries in the top six were from the New World markets of Australia (14%), Chile (7%), and Argentina (6%).

Retail vs Bars/Restaurants

Within the U.S. wine market:
• Retail (off-premise) sales account for 80% of sales volume;
• Bars and restaurants (on-premise) represent roughly 20% of sales volume.
In 2011, there were nearly 20,000 more retail outlets selling wine than five years earlier. Also in 2011,retail wine sales were well ahead of retail beer and spirits sales, both on volume and on value.

Analysis of U.S. Wine Consumers

According to the Wine Market Council’s annual consumer survey, the total number of U.S. wine consumers is at an all-time high of 100 million. The nation’s core wine drinkers – 46 million U.S. adults - account for 91% of all wine consumption. Core wine drinkers are those who drink wine at least once a week, while marginal drinkers are those who drink wine less often than weekly. Marginal wine drinkers represent 31 million U.S. adults.
According to a 2010 Wine Market Council tracking study, two-thirds of core wine drinkers and 40% of marginals use the Internet to get information about wine. The study also found that more than half of all wine drinkers are on Facebook while about 25% also use MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter.