Thursday, April 18, 2013

More wine than who?

Do Americans really drink more wine than the French or the Italians?

The surprising answer is, yes. Wine consumption per capita in France and Italy, the two largest wine producers, have been steadily declining.  In fact, French wine consumption is at a 30 year low, according to Decanter, and  daily consumption of wine for the under 30 generation is the exception rather than the rule.

At the same time, overall consumption in the US is at an all time high. In 2012, wine lovers in the US drank more wine, and higher priced wine, than any country on earth according to research prepared for Vinexpo, the world's largest international wine and spirits trade show. That's a pretty impressive change.

As a matter of fact, we Yanks drink 13% of all of the wine produced in the world; and while we still consume more white than red,  the trends show that by 2016, Americans will drink 18% more red than than we did in 2012.


Look at the trends published in 2011 by Gallop:  For only the second time in our history, wine consumption in the US is equal to that of beer.



So who exactly is drinking all of that wine?

The US demographic that is driving the fastest growth in wine consumption appears to be the Millennial generation, according to WineBusiness.com. While consumption is up across all generational groups, it is increasing the fastest among those born after 1980.


Unfortunately, the overall increase in US consumption has come at a time of lowered domestic production from two years of  bad weather  and when yields from Europe to Argentina have fallen to a 37 year low as a result of persistent  drought and storms at harvest.

This will inevitably put pressure on prices, as will the growing demand from China. According to Decanter, China will likely drive world wine prices over the next 5 years. As of 2011, China was already the 5th largest wine consuming country and its consumption is estimated to grow by another 40% between 2012 and 2016.

So what does it all mean,  you ask?

More competition for high end wines and higher prices due to lower supply and higher demand, but more choices from emerging production areas. A great opportunity to escape your comfort zone and try something new !