U.S. wine sales rebound

on 01/06/11 at 12:09 pm

Industry

After a two-year slump, domestic wine retail sales in 2010 increased 7% from the prior year; U.S. wine exports jumped 26%. And for the first time, the U.S. consumed more wine than France.

After two years of sluggish wine sales, consumers are starting to reach for — and spend more on — their favorite vintages. And the California wine industry, having survived several vineyard fire sales and a glut of excess inventory, is seeing signs of a post-recession rebound.

Domestic wine retail sales grew 7% in 2010 over the previous year, according to the Wine Institute in San Francisco. California wine producers, who make 90% of wine bottled domestically, saw retail sales grow 1% from the previous year, to $18.5 billion. And U.S. wine exports also jumped to a record $1.14 billion in 2010, up nearly 26% from 2009.

For the first time, the U.S. in 2010 consumed more wine than France. While the French still drink far more wine per capita than Americans, the U.S. — with its much larger population — has more people pouring a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay.

As the U.S. economic recovery creeps on, restaurateurs say they are seeing more diners ordering full bottles, rather than a single glass, of wine with their meals. Technomic Inc., a Chicago research firm, forecast that alcohol sales at restaurants and bars would grow 1.9% in 2011, compared with sales in 2010.

{Full story via LA Times}

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