Americans open to purchasing wine from various countries

March 20, 2012
While wine drinking is not linked as closely to American dining and culture as it is with that of some European nations, most Americans buy and drink wine - only 38% say they never buy a bottle of wine. And, almost half of U.S. adults over 21 say they drink wine several times per month (48%) and over one in five say they usually purchase 4 or more bottles of wine per month (22%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Whether it's for convenience, cost, patriotism, personal preference or something else, a large majority of adults who buy or drink wine say they buy or drink wine from the United States (89%). Sizeable numbers say they buy or drink wine from Italy (37%), Australia (34%) and France (33%) while one in five or fewer buy or drink wine from Chile (21%), Spain (21%), Germany (20%) or Argentina (19%). Smaller numbers buy or drink wine from New Zealand (11%), South Africa (9%), Portugal (8%) or Brazil (6%) and very few buy or drink wine from Greece, Israel, Bolivia, Turkey or Poland (3% or less).

Despite what wine Americans are currently purchasing, half or more who buy or drink wine say they would consider purchasing wine from the U.S. (85%), Italy (62%), France (60%), Australia (50%) and Spain (50%). One quarter or more would also consider purchasing wine from Germany (42%), Argentina (38%), Chile (38%), New Zealand (38%), Portugal (36%), South Africa (31%), Greece (30%), Brazil (30%) and Israel (25%). While the numbers relating to buying and drinking habits have remained fairly constant since 2008, the numbers for consideration of each country's wine are higher. This may indicate that while tastes evolve, habits are slower to change.

Consistent with that theory, 78% of adults who drink wine say they sometimes or frequently purchase a bottle of wine that they have had before. This practice is most common among older adults and women. Over half of Matures, aged 67 and older, say they frequently purchase a bottle of wine they have had before. This compares to 50% of Baby Boomers, aged 48-66, 40% of Gen X, aged 36-47, and just 32% of Echo Boomers, aged 18-35, who say the same. Almost half (46%) of women say they frequently purchase a bottle of wine they have had before compared to 41% of men who do.

As oenophiles know, wine can range in many things including quality, origin, taste and certainly price. When wine drinkers were asked how much they spent on the last bottle of wine they purchased, 61% reported paying $14 or less - 35% paid between $10 and $14 and 26% paid less than $10; 20% paid $15-$19, 11% paid $20-$29 and 8% paid $30 or more. While it doesn't seem that most wine drinkers regularly spend over $30 on a bottle of wine, 34% say that they have spent that much before.

When it comes to how often Americans are purchasing wine, there are some generational and regional differences:

Matures (27%) and Baby Boomers (25%) are more likely than Echo Boomers (21%) and Gen Xers (20%) to purchase 4 or more bottles of wine per month;

Matures are also purchasing considerably more wine overall, with 10% buying 11 or more bottles per month, compared to 8% of Baby Boomers and just 2-3% of Gen X and Echo Boomers who do the same;

Adults in the Midwest buy wine least frequently - 13% buy 4 or more bottles per month compared to 24% of those in the South, 25% of those in the East and 29% of those in the West who purchase that amount; and,

Adults in the West seem to buy the most amount of wine, with 10% reporting purchasing 11 or more bottles per month.

So What?

Most Americans purchase wine and many show an interest in broadening their horizons in terms of what kinds of wine they buy. Wine makers and marketers would do well to reach out to these consumers - many seem to buy the same bottle out of habit rather than lack of interest in trying something new. It also seems that while Americans generally spend on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of wine pricing - which may be a result of difficult economic times and less disposable income - many purchasers buy several bottles per month and return to labels that are familiar, making them very valuable consumers for wine companies to engage with.