US is No.1 wine market
THE US is now the largest wine market in the world.
Analyst Jon Fredrikson this week told an industry gathering in the US that Americans consumed 13 per cent of all wine produced globally.
US production rose 2 per cent last year to help meet the demand, Mr Fredrikson told the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium. But bulk wine imports from Argentina, followed by Chile and Australia, also helped.
New Zealand had boosted its planted acreage and was expected to become a bigger player, especially in sauvignon blanc.
Wine consumption is decreasing in France and Italy, so foreign producers are targeting the US market.
Overseas wines now account for 35 per cent of sales in the US.
Mr Fredrikson said consumers were driven to cheaper imports by grape shortages in the US in 2010 and 2011 that resulted in higher prices for domestic wines. Even the Charles Shaw label - known as "Two Buck Chuck" - was forced to raise prices this month, by US50¢ (48¢) a bottle.