NORWALK, Conn. (PRNewswire) — The U.S. leveraged an improving economy to maintain the title of world's largest wine market last year. Larger discretionary income levels for consumers contributed to Americans purchasing more wine, marking a 1% growth rate to 328.6 million 9-liter cases, according to the Beverage Information and Insights Group's 2015 Wine Handbook.
The U.S. continued to lead the wine market in 2014 after surpassing France in 2013. U.S. wineries grew to 8,287 in 2014, an increase of 525. This may explain why domestic wine growth increased 1.3%, while imported wine growth decreased by 0.7%.
Wine consumers matured in 2014, demonstrated by the increase in sales of wines in the $10 to $20 price range. Sales of wines priced below $10 slowed. Box wine brands saw double-digit increases and consumers began purchasing smaller 187-ml wine bottles, primarily for consumption at outdoor events.
With California facing its fourth year of major drought, which has caused production struggles, Oregon and Washington experienced record-size wine crops in 2014. Some wine suppliers raised prices, finding that consumers are more likely to purchase a new brand at a higher price point, than to remain with a familiar brand that raises its price.
According to the 2015 Wine Handbook, table wine grew to 300.8 million 9-liter cases, a 0.9% increase over 2013. The champagne and sparkling wine category grew for its 13th consecutive year to 18.2 million 9-liter cases, up 4.0%.