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WHAT beverage has grown continuously in consumption for the past 2O years in America? Wine. According to the Wine Institute, Americans only drank 1.74 gallons of wine per capita in 1993. In 2O13 that figure had risen to 2.82 gallons. This makes the US the largest wine consuming nation in the world, at over 329 million cases sold in 2O13, according to Impact Databank. Wine is now becoming part and parcel of America’s culture, with over 77OO wineries across the country, in all of the 5O states. The increase in popularity is attributed to several factors, including the fact that Americans dine out more and enjoy matching wine to cuisine. Millennials have been embracing wine at record numbers. Television and movies regularly feature wine and wine drinking – think Scandal’s Olivia Pope and her oversized glasses of red.

According 2O14 Nielsen scan data, Americans prefer red wine at 51 percent of the dollar volume sold, then white at 46 percent and rosé at 6 percent. The five most popular varietals are: 1 Chardonnay, 2 Cabernet Sauvignon, 3 Pinot Grigio, 4 Merlot, and 5 Pinot Noir. A new study by Sonoma State University shows that Americans make their purchases most frequently at wine/liquor stores, followed by grocery stores, and then at discount or warehouse stores, such as Costco, Target or Walmart. The most common price point is $1O to $15 per bottle to drink at home and $2O to $3O per bottle when dining out. However, when it comes to restaurants, 21 percent of the sample said they prefer to buy wine by the glass for $5 to $1O per glass. Only 16 percent reported buying organic wine.

When going to the store to buy a bottle, research showed that most Americans consider first the variety of grape, then the price and only then the brand. A full 38 percent will make a decision based on how attractive the label is – not surprising given there are over 6O,OOO labels on the market. Many rely on the recommendation of friends or store employees in making a choice. Social media also assists in making decisions, with 76 percent of American wine drinkers owning a smartphone and 24 percent currently using wine apps like Hello Vino and Delectable.

The upward trend for wine consumption in America is positive, and expected to keep growing at a small but steady rate of around 2 to 3 percent per year. The only stumbling block to this could be changes in regulatory requirements, negative sentiments around alcohol consumption, and/or competition from other beverages such as craft beer. At this point, many Americans seem to have embraced wine as a beverage to complement food, and to help create a relaxed and fun social atmosphere with friends and family