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    Wine Sales Up 22 Percent Among NASCAR Fans: ACNielsen

    NEW YORK -- Wine consumption among NASCAR fans is up 22 percent from last year, far outpacing overall growth in wine consumption in the nation, according to a study released yesterday by ACNielsen and Nielsen Sports, both business units of The Nielsen Company here.

    NEW YORK -- Wine consumption among NASCAR fans is up 22 percent from last year, far outpacing overall growth in wine consumption in the nation, according to a study released yesterday by ACNielsen and Nielsen Sports, both business units of The Nielsen Company here.

    In 2006, retail wine sales in the U.S. (total grocery, drug, and selected liquor markets only) reached a new record of $8.4 billion, up 7 percent from 2005, according to the study.

    Nielsen FANLinks, a service that tracks household consumption among U.S. sports fans, indicated that wine purchases have increased to $81.40 per year, an average dollar increase of about $14.60 per household. Results also indicated that this increase in wine spending is slightly stronger among avid fans, with their purchases increasing by 26.4 percent.

    While imported wine sales are growing among NASCAR fans, domestic wine still represents a majority of their sales, nearly 70 percent.

    With about 75 million NASCAR fans in the U.S., ACNielsen predicted that this could become the next big advertising opportunity for the wine industry.

    "These findings emphasize tremendous opportunities for advertisers interested in sports fan consumers," said Ann Marie Dumais, v.p. of marketing, Nielsen Ventures. "Wine brands that can align their brand to these consumers are positioned to reap the benefits of fan loyalty for years to come."

    The synergy between wine and NASCAR racing has already been explored, ACNielsen noted. NASCAR team owner Richard Childress has ventured into the wine business, as has driver Jeff Gordon. In 2005, Gordon announced a series of upscale wines under a self-titled label, the Jeff Gordon Collection.

    Furthermore, in 2005, Texas Motor Speedway pioneered an effort to accommodate the increasing number of NASCAR fans who prefer drinking wine. The racetrack became the first sports venue in Texas to allow fans to purchase wine in the grandstand during races.

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