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More drinkers buy California wines above $10 – figures

Shipments of California wine across the US hit record levels last year, as volumes rose 2% to 238m cases, at an estimated retail value of US$34.1bn.

The increases mean that California wine shipments have gone up by nearly 25% over the past decade, said Jon Moramarco, founder and managing partner of BW166, which purchased The Gomberg-Fredrikson Report into the US wine market last year. The report is used by the California Wine Institute and US government.

‘The growth trend has been driven by population, which is up more than 12% over the last decade, and by the fact that baby boomers, traditionally the large population segment of frequent wine consumers, have been joined by millennials aged 21-38 who are also driving the growth in wine consumption,’ said Moramarco, in a statement released by California’s Wine Institute.

California wines priced at $10 and above are also on the increase, and now make up 19% of the market by volume, and 40% by value – while wines under $10 are flat or falling, despite still accounting for more than 80% of volumes.

SEE ALSO: California 2013 vintage review and top wines by Decanter’s William Kelley

Total shipments of Champagne and sparkling wines rose 14% in 2016 to 25.6m cases, with Prosecco driving the strong growth in the market.

Meanwhile, access to wine across the US continues to expand, with 550,000 locations that sell wine, according to market research company Nielsen.

As well as stores, bars and restaurants, these now include less traditional locations such as bookstores, nail salons, coffee shops – and even car washes and car repair shops.

Figures released in February showed that US wine exports earned a record $1.62bn in winery revenues during 2016, despite a double-digit decline in shipment volumes.

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