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Red, White & New | Hot Wine Producing Regions

December 10, 2010 1:50 pm - Posted by Kevin in Learn

Ok so we’ve learned in our past blogs that the US wine industry is growing (it was up 3.2% last year), that the American wine drinker likes traditional varietals (Chardonnay is King followed by Cabernet Sauvignon) and they are interested in trying different varietals (as growth in Riesling & Sangiovese proves). But what does this mean for the types of wines you’ll see on your favorite retailer’s shelves?

Well a couple of things. It means that you’ll continue to see a lot of American wines. US consumers prefer domestic product, nearly 2/3 of all wine sales are of American bottles. US consumers spent about $6.5 billion on US wines last versus just $2.6 billion on imports. This probably means there is hope for nascent producers in Arizona and Long Island, NY State and Virginia (to name a few). California, Oregon and Washington State can only produce so many grapes and so this trend may let some excellent producers in other regions get national recognition. That’d be a good thing.

On the flip side though, this trend also means that you’ll have a limited selection of imported wines to sample.

Top Wine Exporters to the US:

  • Italy $804 million
  • Australia $771 million
  • Chile $243 million
  • France $228 million
  • Argentina $187 million
  • New Zealand $125 million

Fastest Growing Wine Exporters to the US:

  • Argentina 27.6%
  • New Zealand 21.1%
  • Germany 4.4%
  • Chile 1.7%
  • Spain 0.6%
  • Portugal 0.3%

No one expects Argentina to take over from Italy as the United States’ preferred exporter anytime soon, but they certainly have the momentum. Likewise New Zealand is doing a great job at increasing sales. Australia is still a far larger producer but with sales increase of over 20% their kiwi cousins are definitely nipping at their heels.

One other interesting thing to note is that France now comes behind Chile in terms of overall US sales. Does this reflect an anti-French bias? Probably not. Does it reflect a lack of knowledge on the part of the US consumer? Most likely. Does it reflect a taste and budget preference? Most definitely.

Clearly American wine drinkers have spoken. They like new world wines, they like value and they like wines that are approachable and understandable, both in taste and pronunciation.  So I would say your retailer’s shelves are going to get a lot more creative in the years to come. And that is a great thing. Happy exploring.

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