The Buzz about Wine Trends in 2015 is Sobering


Wine Trends Wine Market Council Wine Oh TVThe stats about wine trends are in and the numbers are somewhat sobering. The bad news: consumers are not drinking more wine. The good news: consumers are drinking better wine. 🙂 On February 6, 2015 wine journalists (like me), wine enthusiasts, and wine educators battled the (much needed) rain, and made their way to the Lincoln Theater in Napa Valley.

Wine Trends Wine Market CouncilWe were on hand to hear the Wine Market Council’s research covering consumer consumption habits in 2014. Wine Market Council president, John Gillespie, gave the results of a summary of surveys answered by wine consumers.

Jon Bonne, Wine Editor of The San Francisco Chronicle
“What’s the biggest enemy to the wine industry? It’s not craft beer, whiskey or even cider, the greatest enemy is the wine industry itself.”

Here are Some Stats that Stood Out to Me

(High frequency wine drinkers are defined as drinking wine more often than once a week.)

(High end wine buyers buy or consume wine that costs $20 or more weekly or monthly.)
  • Wine Trends Wine Market CouncilWomen drink more wine than men 54% 46%
  • Majority of consumers drink wine at home
  • Baby Boomers drink more than Millennials and Generation X
  • High frequency wine consumers drinking more craft beer than a year ago. With 66% of Millennials drinking craft beer once a month or more and among men in their 20s craft beer is a growing alternative to wine in restaurants.
  • Online wine sales are up about 16%. Direct to consumer sales increasing way beyond overall growth rate.
  • Wine Trends Wine Market Council In 2006, younger Millennials spent 16% more than older folks at restaurants. In 2013, they spent 22% less.
  • The majority of high frequency wine consumers thought wine reviews were important: 31% somewhat important, 22% very important and 13% extremely important.
  • Importance of wine reviews to purchase decisions by generation: Millennials 56%, Generation X 42%, Baby Boomers 21% and 69+ 15%. I think it’s interesting to point out that in this case a wine review includes: traditional reviews like Wine Spectator ratings, apps like Delectable ratings, and social media like positive Facebook and Instagram posts.
  • Wine Trends Wine Market Council$211 Billion of Consumer Beverage Spending: $77 Billion on cocktails, $103 Billion on beer, and only $31Billion on wine
  • United States is the number one wine consuming country in the world
  • Italy is the top imported wine in the United States
  • New Zealand wine leads imported growth average up +14.8
  • Wine Trends Wine Market CouncilSparkling wine sales are on the rise
  • Wine consumers are drinking more red blends and roses, while White Zinfandel consumption is still declining
  • Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay sales are on the decline, Cabernet Sauvignon sales are on the rise
  • By the end of this year the average price of a bottle of wine will be close to $10

Relevant Wine Market Council Research

  1. A Snapshot of the 230 Million Wine Consumers in the U.S:
    In 2014, 302 million cases of wine were consumed in the U.S., up from 298 million in 2013. Each U.S. wine-drinking adult drank an average of 3.14 gallons of wine in 2014 (per adult, per capita).
    Source: Census Bureau, Beverage Information GroupOf the 230 million adults in the U.S., Wine Market Council found that 40% drink wine as of August 2014. Wine Market Council breaks down the wine drinking population into two groups—33% who are defined as high frequency wine drinkers, that is they drink wine more often than once a week, and 67% who are occasional wine drinkers, that is they drink wine once a week or less often. This translates into approximately 30,360,000 high frequency wine drinkers and 61,640,000 occasional wine drinkers. This high frequency wine-drinking group drinks 81% of the total wine consumed in the U.S. Of the total wine drinking population, 54% are female and 46% are male. By generation, 29% of the total wine drinking population consists of Millennials (1977-1994), 18% are Generation X (1965-1976), 41% are Baby Boomers (1946-1964), and 12% are older (1945-earlier).
    Source: Wine Market Council ORC Segmentation Study, August 2014
  2. High-Frequency Wine Drinkers are Consuming More Wine:
    Although most high frequency wine drinkers report their wine consumption has remained the same over the past year (61%), as a group, their wine consumption is rising overall. Over one-third (37%) increased their consumption over the past year and consumption decreased for only 2%. This results in a net positive of 35 percentage points.
    Source: Wine Market Council High Frequency Tracking Study, November 2014
  3. High-Frequency Wine Drinking Millennials are Drinking More Wine:
    The total wine drinking population continues to grow as the youngest Millennials turn the legal drinking age of 21 in 2015. In terms of wine consumption in 2014 versus a year ago, 59% of millennial high frequency wine drinkers said that they are drinking more wine, whereas 39% of Generation X, 27% of Baby Boomers, and 13% of those 69 and older, claimed to drink more wine than they did the previous year.In terms of other types of wine, beer, and spirits consumed at least monthly by high frequency wine drinkers, 62% of Millennials consume sparkling or champagne each month, whereas only 33% of Generation X, 21% of Baby Boomers, and 13% of those over 69 consume sparkling or champagne each month. Looking at beer, 86% of millennial high frequency wine drinkers drink beer each month, whereas 79% of Generation X, 67% of Baby Boomers, and 51% of those 69 or over drink beer monthly. When it comes to spirits, 67% of millennial high frequency wine drinkers drink spirits monthly, whereas 61% of Generation X, 56% Baby Boomers, and 52% of those 69 and over, drink spirits on a monthly basis.
    Source: Wine Market Council High Frequency Tracking Study, November 2014
  4. High-Frequency Wine Drinking Millennials Drink More of Their Fair Share:
    Most of the wine consumed in this country is consumed by Baby Boomers, but closely followed by Millennials. Despite the fact that the largest proportion of U.S. wine drinkers are Baby Boomers (41%), and the gap between the representation of Baby Boomers and Millennials is fairly wide (29% of total wine drinkers are Millennials), the gap between the proportion of the total wine volume these two generations consume is much narrower – Baby Boomers consume 37% and Millennials consume 34%. Moreover, the volume of wine Millennials consume exceeds their representation among U.S. wine drinkers (29% of total wine drinkers are Millennials, but Millennials drink 34% of total wine consumed), while the volume of wine Baby Boomers consume underrepresents their proportion of total U.S. wine drinkers (41% of total wine drinkers are Baby Boomers, and they drink 37% of total wine consumed).
    Source: Wine Market Council High Frequency Tracking Study, November 2014
About Wine Market Council
Wine Market Council is a non-profit association of grape growers, wine producers, importers, wholesalers, retailers, and other affiliated wine businesses and organizations. The council’s mission is to grow, strengthen, and stabilize the wine market in the U.S. on behalf of all segments of the industry. Wine Market Council provides its members with consumer research that is proprietary to Wine Market Council members, who incorporate it into their strategic planning, marketing and sales execution. Wine Market Council was established in 1994 as a non-profit (501c6) trade association working through all tiers of the U.S. wine industry to grow the wine market. More information can be found at and on Twitter @WineMktCouncil.

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PUBLISHED DATE: February 12th, 2015 | WINE CATEGORY: Wine Country
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