US wine sales hit record high

Some 360 million cases of domestic and foreign wine sold here last year, up 2% from the year before.

By Benzinga Nov 13, 2013 11:58AM

Wine glass © Stockbyte/PhotolibraryBy Bruce Kennedy


It's been a very good year for wine. Sales of domestic and foreign wines in the U.S. last year were reportedly up 2 percent compared to 2011 -- to a record 360.1 million cases with an estimated retail value of $34.6 billion.


California wines make up nearly 60 percent of overall U.S wine sales, with a retail value of around $22 billion. And according to the Wine Institute, the U.S. is the largest wine market in the world, with 19 consecutive years of volume growth.


"Wine shipments to the U.S. market climbed by nearly 50 percent since 2001 and it is likely that American consumption will continue to expand over the next decade as wine continues to gain traction among American adult consumers," wine industry consultant Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates said in an Institute press statement.


Fredrikson attributes the growth of wine sales, and the growing number of wine drinkers in the U.S., to several factors, including "favorable" demographics, a bigger consumer base and a rising number of distribution points.


"For example," he says, "Starbucks (SBUX) is now serving wine in some key markets and (AMZN) and Facebook (FB) Gifts both sell wine online."


And a new study by the firm Restaurant Sciences of wine-by-the-glass sales for the first three quarters of this year finds American tastes appear to be shifting to higher-end vino, with pinot noir overtaking merlot in popularity. The study also found chardonnay remains the overall favorite white wine for people dining out, while cabernet sauvignon dominates the reds.


Restaurant Sciences analyzed 30 million guest checks from January through October of this year, from full-service restaurants, bars, nightclubs and hotel bars. It also found Americans are paying more for wine, with average prices per glass ranging from around $5.50 at a family dining restaurants to nearly $14 per glass at hotel bars.


U.S. wine exports, meanwhile, are having some vintage times as well. The Wine Institute says those exports created $1.43 billion in winery revenues last year, up 2.5 percent compared to a year earlier.


Read more from Benzinga

Nov 13, 2013 2:48PM
As an American I'm proud to say I've been doing my part to help out the California wine industry and make American the largest producer in the world. Why just last night I drank two bottles to help this worthy cause.
Nov 13, 2013 2:15PM
Ya gotta love these articles. last week we have a wine shortage. This week we have broken records for wine sales. Try shopping at Costco and browse their wine sale area. Always 'overflowing' so to speak with inventory, as well as variety and price levels.
Nov 13, 2013 2:12PM
Their are a lot of excellent wines out their under 10 bucks,
Pull some corks till you fine some you like.
Save yourself a ton of cash.  Or listen to the cork dorks hype and pay the price.
Nov 13, 2013 2:59PM

With the way this 'recovery' is going (or not going), I shouldn't wonder that wine sales are up.


As the Irish, myself included, are fond of saying: it is a shame to waste a perfectly good liver on sobriety. But don't take it from us, listen to what this expert has to say:


"To alcohol. The cause of and solution to all the world's problems"

                                                                                                 -H.J. Simpson

Nov 13, 2013 2:33PM
I bet the wine shortage was a sales tatic. 
Nov 13, 2013 2:37PM
It's also been a very good year for "Whine Sales".
Nov 13, 2013 3:06PM
Interesting that California wines represent 60 percent of the total when Washington and Oregon wines are largely better quality and taste while being similarly priced.
Nov 13, 2013 4:27PM

It's nice to see that an industry based on slander is doing well.   Atta boys!


First it was the French.  The "experts" wouldn't dare say they were anything but the best.   Then the Californians actually did work hard to improve their product, then they made inroads marketing and then had enough financial backing to get Madison Avenue to overtake the French through advertising and media.  Now it's California bulldozing everyone else, to no surprise.


New York, Washington, Oregon and other states have won some serious competitions in wine during the last 20 years.  Arizona of all places cleaned up in competitions during the 90's, with vineyards based around the town of Elgin. But California is the major market for its own wines, and those "other" places have been made substandard in the eyes of the media.  How could a good wine be from a place like Oregon, that's preposterous!   Playing on people's geographic prejudices is profitable.


Just try to find good, non-California wines IN California itself, the biggest market.  The store shelves are closed off, sorry!  It's like blind nationalism only at a state level.  Thank goodness for the internet market.  Certainly there a many good California wines, that's not my point.


It truly makes me wonder how the USA economy functions at all.  Objectivity, excellence, and creativity have been preempted, it's all about the loudest mouths and who and where is most popular--  not the best, brightest, and those who strive for excellence.


The thumbs down will prove my point.  Most all of them will be "offended" Californians.

Nov 13, 2013 3:38PM
Nov 13, 2013 3:30PM

No wine shortage for sure..!! More wine on shelves than you can shake a stick at.. Just BS, or some advertisement propaganda to boast and already prolific sales year.

Nov 13, 2013 3:38PM
Wine does make me horny!!! Lets have a beer!! and a glass of vino too!!
Nov 13, 2013 8:14PM

Good old homemade Dago Red with some pepperoni and provolone cheese while watching football.

A glass of Red Sangria box wine before bedtime males for a good night's sleep for sure.

Nov 18, 2013 1:59PM
Let the French, Spanish and Italians sell in our markets without punishing tariffs!
The tax paid by Thomas  J.  and George W.   was plenty.     As a %   it should have been a
fixed percent so California lobbyists cound't use it as a weapon to control the market.   5$ wine
from Europe would be good for the American consumer and free enterprise is the principal
our country was founded on- not market manipulation by california elitists and lobbyists in D.C.
Limit the tariffs and the consumer wins and our  old allies win too!

Nov 13, 2013 7:34PM
Judging by the size of the shelves, the very affodable prices, and the many bottles with 2007 and up year of bottling, I can assure you, there is not any wine shortage around this neck of the woods. 
Nov 13, 2013 3:34PM
Somebody is doing their job...within the last 2 months there was an article about a wine shortage...
Nov 13, 2013 3:05PM
Time to cue up "Wonderful Wino", by Frank Zappa and the boys (not the Mothers, but a solid backing band).
Nov 18, 2013 5:55PM
Nov 13, 2013 8:16PM
Let's not forget New York wine.  The Finger Lakes area has excellent reds and desert wine.
Nov 19, 2013 12:20AM
this economy and outlook makes us all want to get drunk.  the rise in wine consumption means some of us are actually doing it.
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