Overall wine consumption in the United States rose 3.2 percent in 2007 to 292.1 million 9-liter cases, according to the Beverage Information Group’s recently released 2008 Wine Handbook.
“If wine continues to grow at these levels, the U.S. will surpass both Italy and France to become both the largest wine market and biggest wine importer in the world by the end of the decade,” says Eric Schmidt, manager of information services for the Beverage Information Group.
Important demographic trends cited in the 2008 Wine Handbook are quite favorable for the wine industry. The 70 million people that make up the “Millennial” generation (age 23 to 30) are not as sophisticated about wine as preceding generations, and are willing to experiment with bottles based on visual appeal and name recognition rather than winemaking region.
Conversely, the Baby Boomers, the 77 million Americans between the ages of 43 and 61, have more disposable income and are spending on the more exclusive, higher-priced wines.