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    U.S. Wine Consumption Still Rising

    Overall wine consumption in the United States increased 0.9 percent in 2008 to 294.7 million 9-liter cases, according to the Beverage Information Group’s recently released 2009 Wine Handbook. Although the growth rate has slowed a bit, this is the 15th consecutive year of case gains. Because of the recession, consumers have become more frugal in their purchases, trading down to value-priced wines in both on- and off-premise venues.

    Overall wine consumption in the United States increased 0.9 percent in 2008 to 294.7 million 9-liter cases, according to the Beverage Information Group’s recently released 2009 Wine Handbook. Although the growth rate has slowed a bit, this is the 15th consecutive year of case gains. Because of the recession, consumers have become more frugal in their purchases, trading down to value-priced wines in both on- and off-premise venues.

    Changing demographic trends noted in the publication are favorable for the wine industry. The 70 million people age 21 to 30 who make up the “Millennial” generation are changing perceptions of wine. Millennials aren’t as sophisticated about wine as earlier generations and are willing to experiment with lower-priced wines.

    Another factor accounting for the growth in U.S. wine consumption is the weakened dollar, which has driven up prices of imported wine selections. This has in turn spurred a rise in sales among competitively priced domestic vintages.

    “Imported wines dropped 1.8 percent, while domestics rose 1.9 percent -- a stark contrast to the recent trend when imported table wines fueled not only the growth of that sector, but of the entire industry,” observed Eric Schmidt, manager of information services for the Norwalk, Conn.-based Beverage Information Group.

    Additionally, the continued link between moderate wine consumption and lower risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke remains a major reason for wine’s popularity in an ever more health-conscious society.

    The 2009 Wine Handbook includes wine consumption analysis, the top 50 metro markets, supplier performance, advertising expenditures, consumer drinking preferences and economic/demographic data. It costs $795, while a handbook and CD cost $965. Shipping and handling is $10 for all U.S. and Canadian orders, and $20 for all international orders. To purchase the handbook and CD, visit www.beveragehandbooks.com or call Cynthia Porter at (630) 762-8709.

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