US Wine Drinkers Waking Up to New Countries and Varietals

June 28, 2011
Beverage World

Evidence is mounting that American wine consumers are embracing new styles of wines and a broader range of source countries as their tastes mature, according to a new report from Wine Intelligence published today.

Strong recent growth in consumption of Prosecco and Malbec are two of the latest signs of this trend, along with the increasing importance of country of origin as a product choice cue, according to the USA Wine Market Landscapes report.

Prosecco consumption has grown by 50% in just 3 years, with 10% of US wine drinkers now stating to have consumed the Italian fizz compared to just 5% in 2008. Malbec meanwhile has also doubled in popularity with 16% of USA regular wine drinkers now saying they drink the varietal compared to 8% in 2008. Old favorite Chardonnay, meanwhile, is showing signs of decline with 63% of wine drinkers stating they drink it compared to 68% back in 2008.

The report also details some of the variations in consumer behavior observed in this large market, some of which are down to regulated distribution in certain states, but also arise from cultural differences that may be recent or long-standing. West Coast consumers, who are typically younger with higher incomes and drink more frequently, place higher importance on region of origin and medals or awards than their counterparts in other parts of the country. Over on the East Coast meanwhile, wine drinkers consume more imported wine, especially from France and Italy and are more inclined to purchase wine from food and wine stores.

On a state level, Wine Intelligence research shows love of Malbec is strongest in California; Texans are happier buying wine with a synthetic cork; whilst Floridians tend to have higher affinity for wines from Chile, Argentina and Spain.

"The USA is living up to its billing as a 'high-growth established' market - a market where wine is becoming a mainstream product for consumers and is experiencing above-trend growth," said Erica Donoho, Wine Intelligence Country Manager USA.

"Keeping an eye sharply on growing trends and market opportunities is essential for long term success, but the "American dream" will only be achieved by those who are prepared to really get to grips with this complex market and plan market strategies to target the precise states and consumers carefully."