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Big Wine Brands Lead Growth in U.S. Market

Consumers continue to look for values in sluggish economy

Posted: December 28, 2010

Americans consumed more wine than ever before in 2010, but they are seeking out values, which means larger wineries enjoyed a better year. Wine consumption by volume grew an estimated 0.9 percent in 2010, the industry's third-consecutive volume gain of less than 1 percent. Nevertheless, U.S. wine consumption recorded its 17th-straight annual increase, according to The U.S. Wine Market: Impact Databank Review and Forecast, 2010 Edition. American consumers spent more than $40 billion on wine last year, another all-time high.

Challenging economic conditions have made Americans increasingly price-conscious, and wine drinkers are seeking value by trading down to less expensive wines, mostly those produced by larger wineries. In 2010, 23 brands sold at least 2 million cases each, and collectively their sales increased by 2.1 percent, more than twice the industry average. All other wine brands combined for a loss of 200,000 cases, according to the Impact Databank report.

Boxed-wine brand Franzia, produced by the Wine Group, continued to lead the market in case sales for the 16th-consecutive year, but the fastest-growing brands in 2010 were E. & J. Gallo’s Barefoot Cellars and Trinchero’s Sutter Home, both value-priced wines. Among above-premium brands, impressive gains were posted by Ménage à Trois and Cupcake Vineyards, while the fastest-growing sparkling-wine brand was Verdi, from Italy.

E. & J. Gallo remains the country's largest wine marketer, ahead of the Wine Group, according to Impact Databank, which is owned by M. Shanken Communications, the parent company of Wine Spectator. But Constellation Brands continues to lead in terms of global volume, even after having recently sold its wine operations in Australia, the U.K. and South Africa to CHAMP, an Australian private-equity firm.

The annual U.S. Wine Market report analyzes the latest trends in the wine industry. With more than 500 tables, graphs and maps, the expanded 2010 edition consists of the first look at brand data for 2010, projections by origin and category through 2015, as well as comprehensive charts of wine trends by variety, color, origin and type. The report also provides volume data for over 500 brands since 1980, rankings of the top 100 wines by volume and retail sales, the top 25 marketers and much more.

For more information about The U.S. Wine Market, which is also available on CD, and other Impact Databank reports on distilled spirits, beer and the global drinks market, contact Elisa Trapani at M. Shanken Communications, 387 Park Avenue S., New York, N.Y., 10016, by phone at (212) 684-4224, ext. 339; by fax at (212) 779-3366; or by e-mail at etrapani@mshanken.com. For a comprehensive table of contents and a detailed listing of tables and charts, or to print an order form, go to ImpactDatabank.com.

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