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Overall US wine consumption rose 0.8% to 297 million nine-liter cases in 2009, according to the Beverage Information Group.

Wine Consumption Grows 16 Consecutive Years
Last year marked the 16th straight year of increased wine case consumption in the US. According to the Beverage Information Group’s 2010 Wine Handbook, domestics continue to outpace imports. Domestic wines rose 1.8% to 222.7 million cases, while imports dropped 2.2%, landing at 74.3 million cases. However, growth is still being seen among smaller countries such as Chile, New Zealand and Portugal.

US wine consumption is expected to increase4.6% to 310.7 million cases by 2014.

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Domestic Offerings Drive Table Wine Momentum
The largest wine category with a 91.6% share, table wine saw its total consumption advance 0.8% during 2009. Beverage Information Group analysis indicates table wine’s recent gains are driven in part by wines that over-deliver for the price, benefiting from consumers seeking less expensive wines during the recession.

This occurs particularly among domestic offerings, as consumers seeking value are put off by imported table wine’s premium image and negative price impact of the weak US dollar. As has been the case for the the last two years, growth of domestic table wines (+1.9%) outpaced that of imported wines (-2.4%), expanding the gap between the two segments that continues to be dominated by American wines.

Domestic table wines command a total 73% share of the US table wine market. California dominates the domestic market, taking 67.1% of the total domestic table wine share. Other states combine to take 5.9% of the total share.

Most Who Trade Down Satisfied
Of the 16% of beer consumers, 23% of wine consumers and 18% of spirits consumers who have switched to a less expensive product, the majority are satisfied with the quality of less expensive alcohol, according to recent data from The Nielsen Company.

Sixty-seven percent of beer drinkers, 79% of wine drinkers and 63% of spirits drinkers say they generally find good quality products at lower products. The remainder who trade down say there is a drop in quality, but the sacrifice is worth saving money for.

In addition, the majority of trading down consumers say they will continue to buy less expensive products as the economy continues to improve (75% of wine consumers, 70% of beer consumers and 66% of spirits consumers).

About the Data: The 2010 Wine Handbook includes wine consumption analysis; the top 50 metro markets; supplier performance; advertising expenditures; consumer drinking preferences; and economic/demographic data.

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