US wine market boom

If you sense more friends enjoy wine today than ever before, you are correct.

The U.S. wine market is one the fastest growing in the world, accounting for 12 percent of global wine consumption. U.S. recently passed Italy as second-largest wine consuming country in the world; we are closing on France. France! Who knew?

Table wines dominate the market, accounting for 90 percent of sales. Desert and sparkling wines account for rest. “Off-premise sales”—those in wine and liquor stores, not in restaurants and bars—hold steady at $650 million a month January through late October, then soar to $900+ million in November and December. Closing in on a billion dollars a month at year’s end! Who knew?

The wine industry is flamboyantly pleased by the sources of the market increase—women and “millennials” (young adults). Availability of so many good and well-priced wines, on-line sales, increased awareness of possible health benefits, appreciation of food-wine pairing all contribute to vino va va voom boom.

On the other hand, wine enjoyment is far from universal. Only 61 percent of America adults drink wine; 39 percent do not drink wine at all, never. Eighty percent of American wine consumption comes from just 17 percent of the population. Members of that 17 percent really enjoy wine; we spend a load of money on our pleasure; but, we are a minority. Marketers look at this and exclaim: “opportunity!”

Wine in the U.S. is a bigger story every day, and people take notice. Including you, reading a wine column right now.


• Famega Vinho Verde. Portugal bargain; low alcohol at 9.5%; savor for salads and as aperitif. $7

• Almira Los Dos Campo de Borja Grenache Syrah. Bright cherry, simple and juicy. $9.50

• Mil Piedras Viognier. Apricot, peach, mango. Refreshing, crisp. $10.50

• Ledgewood Creek PicniQue Red. Red fruit, currants, plums, berries. $11

• Clifford Bay Estate Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand-style; crisp, dry, flinty; melons, tropical and citrus fruits. $11

• Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. South African with strawberry, peach, cherry; lively and bright. $12