When we initiated our destination branding efforts in 2008, our customer and community research clearly showed that along with farm fresh products and experiences, wine focused tourism is what distinguishes the Yakima Valley from any other region in the state or Pacific Northwest. No surprise as the wine industry started here more than 25 years ago. So it was with great interest that we reviewed the Wine Market Council’s (WMC) latest U.S. wine consumer research.
According to WMC, despite the state of the economy wine consumption continues to grow. From 2007 to 2008, table wine consumption increased by 1.2%. While Americans drinker less wine than other countries, per capita the U.S. is only behind Italy in the volume of table wine consumed and is the fourth largest producer of wine.
Other findings from their 2009 research:
- While buying more, consumers want quality, but at a lesser price.
- Consumption of domestic wines remains strong. Washington wines sustained 4% market share, second in the nation behind Goliath California, which has 65.5% of the domestic market share.
- The Millennials are reshaping wine consumption. Born between 1980 and 1995, there are 80 million of them in the US. “The Millennial generation offers the wine industry the kind of growth potential not seen in more than thirty years,” WMC states. “Moreover, Millennial adult wine drinkers have been impacted less severely by the economic downturn… and are sustaining their taste for wine and choice of wine in a variety of casual, everyday situations.”
Trends to watch in 2010 include a decline in fine dining by Americans, which could affect wine sales in restaurants. Also, word of mouth continues to be a major source of how many learn of wine brands and regions. Social media like Twitter and Facebook have big wine communities and discussion groups, but industry analysts question if extensive online ‘buzz’ translates into increased sales.
FYI- The Wine Market Council is a non-profit association of grape growers, wine producers, importers, wholesalers, and other affiliated businesses and organizations. The council’s mission is to establish the widespread acceptance of wine as a rewarding part of American culture and to encourage the responsible enjoyment of wine by current and future generations of adults in the United States.