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US wine purchases soar despite looming recession

The US wine market soared to an estimated $30bn (£15bn) in 2007, as consumption of premium wine continued to grow despite the faltering economy.

Over 300m nine-litre cases of domestic and imported wine were shipped into the US in 2007, a rise of 4% over 2006, according to the Gomberg-Fredrikson Report. At the same time, the market’s value rose 8%, as consumers gravitated toward premium wines from home and abroad.

The increase further cement the position of the US as the world’s biggest wine market by value. The nation is also poised to overtake France and Italy in volume terms – and may even have already done so, as official 2007 figures are not yet available for either country.

‘Wine continues to enjoy a positive standing with the press, government and consumers. Many positive news reports on moderate wine consumption and health have also contributed to its positive image,’ said wine industry consultant Jon Fredrikson.

‘Though the economy is slowing, wine is gaining traction among American adult consumers, and it is likely that wine consumption will continue to expand over the next decade.’

The figures also signal the continuing slide of California’s market share by volume, thanks to imports. In 1997, it was 74%, in 2006 62.%, and in 2007, 61.3% – despite an increase of shipments of 2% by volume and 6% by value.

However, US wine exports (95% from California) increased 8.6% in value to $951m, while volumes were up 12% to just over 50m cases.

California Wine Institute president and CEO Bobby Koch said ‘strong consumer interest’ was fuelling the increased consumption of the state’s wines at home and abroad.

Written by Richard Woodard

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