Wine industry rebounds as sales of $7-plus bottles pick up

on 04/06/11 at 10:52 am

Industry

After two years of sluggish wine sales, consumers are starting to reach for — and spend more on — their favorite vintages.

Domestic wine retail sales grew 7 percent in 2010 over the previous year, according to the Wine Institute in San Francisco. And U.S. wine exports also jumped to a record $1.14 billion in 2010, up nearly 26 percent from 2009.

The California wine industry, having survived several vineyard fire sales and a glut of excess inventory, is also seeing signs of a post-recession rebound. California wine producers, who make 90 percent of wine bottled domestically, saw retail sales grow 1 percent from the previous year, to $18.5 billion.

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 of wine, rather than a single glass, with their meals. Technomic, a Chicago research firm, forecast that alcohol sales at restaurants and bars would grow 1.9 percent in 2011, compared with sales in 2010.

{Full story via Mercury News}

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