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US to lead global wine consumption

By Neil Merrett , 05-Feb-2009

The US will dominate global wine demand within the next three years as the country’s drinking habits shift increasingly towards spirit and vintages, says new industry research.

Despite wider concerns over consuming spending in the current economic downturn, by 2012, consumption of imported wines alone is expected to increase by 17.9 per cent from 2008, according to research compiled by the International Wine & Spirit Record (IWSR).

The findings, supplied jointly with the international exhibition Vinexpo, reflect wider optimism for the global wine market, with demand expected to increase by six per cent by 2012, amounting to 2.816 billion cases.

The research suggests that the US market will be particularly significant in pushing this growth for both wines and spirits over the coming years after consumption of red, white and rose varietals rose by 14 per cent between 2003 and 2007.

Consumer tastes

Red wine currently dominates US consumption, with Americans estimated to have downed more than 1.47 billion litres over 2008, the report claims. In looking ahead the report predicts that sales of red wine could rise to 1.74 billion litres in the next five years.

“Meanwhile, consumption of rose wine is forecast to rise by nearly 10 per cent, from 565 million bottles to 620 million bottles, and white wine consumption is forecast to rise by 5.4 per cent, from 1.3 billion bottles last year to 1.4 billion in 2012,” stated the researchers.

Spirited growth

In the market for spirit products, the report suggested that the US market may see similar strong growth up to 2012, with forecasts predicting a ten per cent hike in consumption to 2.4 billion bottles. Like with wine consumption, the predictions follow a similar trend of long-term growth in the country.

Vodka has been at the centre of this demand surge, posting a 27 per cent rise in sales in the five year-period ending 2007, amounting to 636 million bottles, according to the report. Continued growth is expected to push consumption a further 20 per cent by 2012, the equivalent of 65m nine-later cases, say the researchers.

Global production

In the current market, the report suggests that in 2007, the US was the fourth largest wine-producing country in the world, falling behind Italy, France and Spain respectively.