U.S. to Become World's Top Wine Consumer by 2010: Study

NEW YORK - In three years' time, Americans will drink almost 766 million gallons, or 3.8 billion bottles, of wine, making the United States the world's largest wine consuming country, surpassing even Italy and France, according to the "International Wine and Spirit Record" (IWSR) December 2006 study commissioned by VINEXPO.

The study is part of VINEXPO's global research project in conjunction with IWSR (a leading London-based drinks research organization) in 28 wine-producing countries and 114 wine-and spirit-consuming markets. VINEXPO is an annual international wine and spirits exhibition being held this year in Bordeaux, France from June 17 to June 21.

The consumption rate of still and sparkling wine in the United States from 2001 to 2005 has experienced a steady average rise of 4 percent annually. In 2005, consumption per capita (of legal drinking age) was 3.09 gallons per year, with an expected increase to 3.25 gallons by 2010. An earlier IWSR/VINEXPO study forecasted that the United States would become the top global consumer by 2008, but because of a projected slowdown of the American economy, including a drop in the real estate market, the 2008 presidential elections, and higher oil prices, the prediction was shifted to 2010.

The study's key findings relating the United States include
--Sales of still wine in terms of value came to over $19 billion in 2005 (up 22.49 percent vs. 2001). The sales are projected to increase a further 18.7 percent between 2005 and 2010, reaching nearly $23 billion.
--From 2001 to 2010, retail wine sales will increase by 45.41 percent, while consumption in volume will jump by 40.91 percent during the same time period.
--Consumption in all price points is poised to increase from 2005 to 2010.
--Since 2004, Americans have been drinking more red wine than rose and white wine. In 2005, red wine represented 41.69 percent of total still wine consumed, while white wine represented 40.9 percent and rose wine, 17.41 percent. From 2005 to 2010, the study predicts a further increase of 28.79 percent in red wine consumption.
--By 2010, the United States will be the second-largest wine importer in the world (right now it's 3rd, after Germany and the United Kingdom), with an increase of 82 percent in the consumption of imported wines, accounting for 29.32 percent of the total wine consumed in the United States.
--Spirit consumption is rising by 2.7 percent a year, and will reach nearly 184 million cases of nine-liter bottles by 2010 -- an increase of 27.01 percent from 2001. Consumption per capita (of legal drinking age) will rise from 1.96 to 2.01 gallons between 2005 and 2010. The growth categories for spirits are tequila, cognac and vodka.

The study also found that wine consumption worldwide is increasing by more than 266 million bottles every year from 2001 to 2010.
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