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U.S. Wine Market Set To Eclipse France In 2012

June 22, 2011

If current trends continue, the U.S. will surpass France in 2012 to become the world’s largest wine consuming nation by volume. Last year, U.S. wine volume rose 1% to 307 million cases, while France’s volume fell 1.5% to 321 million cases, according to Impact Databank (the U.S. is already the global leader by value, at around $40 billion annually). This development is trending even though France’s average per-capita wine consumption (46.07 liters) was more than five times higher than it was in the U.S. (8.7 liters) in 2010. Wine per-capita consumption was relatively flat in the U.S., while it decreased 2% in France, where it’s down more than 8 liters per year since 2005.

The global wine market has been experiencing growing pains since 2007 with total volume decreasing three consecutive years through 2010. Long-term category erosion in major Western European wine-producing nations like France, Italy, Spain and Portugal has contributed significantly to the global decline. Worldwide wine volume decreased 0.4% in 2010, but some major markets—particularly China (+5.6% to 164.5 million cases) and the U.S.—continue to grow.

Progress in the U.S. isn’t only occurring on the volume front, but also on the value side of the equation. Lou Applebaum, senior vice president, strategy and business development, Constellation, says trading up in the U.S. is accelerating again—particularly on wines up to $25. “From a package format, 750-ml bottles and 3-liter premium boxes such as Black Box are gaining the most share, while other large format packages (1.5-liter and larger) are losing share,” he says.

Looking ahead, Europe’s share of the global wine market will shrink over the coming five years, although the continent will still represent around 60% of global wine sales by 2015, according to Robert Nicholson, principal, International Wine Associates. “The Asia-Pacific region, as well as the U.S., Canada and Russia, will see the strongest growth,” he says.

Fastest-Growing Wine Brands Worldwide
(millions of nine-liter cases)
Percent Change4
Brand Company Origin 2008 2009 2010 2008-2009 2009-2010
Franzia The Wine Group United States 24.3 25.0 26.0 3.1% 4.0%
Don Simon J Garcia Carrion SA Spain 11.3 14.7 16.6 30.1% 12.9%
Concha y Toro Vina Concha y Toro SA Chile 10.2 11.3 11.7 10.1% 4.3%
Sutter Home Trinchero Family Estates United States 8.8 9.8 10.9 11.6% 11.4%
Barefoot Cellars E. & J. Gallo Winery United States 5.3 6.5 8.1 21.7% 25.0%
Inglenook1 The Wine Group United States 3.1 3.3 3.4 7.3% 3.0%
Corbett Canyon The Wine Group Chile3 3.0 3.1 3.3 5.1% 6.5%
Total Leading Brands2 65.9 73.6 80.1 11.7% 8.7%
1 sale pending to Rubicon Estate Winery
2 addition of columns may not agree due to rounding
3 white Zinfandel is sourced from California
4 based on unrounded data

Source: IMPACT DATABANK

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