Bubbly Bolstering US Wine Market, Chardonnay Stays on Top


New numbers released by The U.S. Wine Market: Impact Databank Review and Forecast reveal that the United States wine market grew a modest 0.3 percent in 2014, but that a rise in the popularity of sparkling wine helped steady an otherwise lukewarm year.
“The report said that the sparkling wine segment drove what growth there was, with an estimated increase in volume of 3 percent to 16 million cases, according to the The Napa Valley Register.
Sparkling wines grew for a sixth consecutive year, showing that consumer tastes – and consumer spending – have bounced back since the end of the most recent recession.
That increase in growth is the direct result of the aforementioned increased importation of foreign sparkling wines. 
According to the Register as well as several other industry sources, foreign sparklers gained considerable popularity this year, with some industry experts citing the burgeoning Millennial inclinations for sparkling wine.
“Italian Prosecco was the biggest winner including wines from Mionetto, La Marca, Zonin and Riondo,” the Register said.
The two most-imported wines this past year were Freixenet's Cava and Bacardi's Martini & Rossi Asti, the story said. 
In total, the imports grew 6.6 percent in 2014, the report said.
However, a different report released by a Chicago-based grocery researcher IRI said sparkling wines grew nine percent this past year rather than less-than-seven percent numbers offered by the Impact Databank report.
According to the Register, IRI's report said that imported sparkling wines experienced more than double the growth recently reported by Impact Databank – 12.45 percent.
Also included in the IRI report was the success of Italian brands of sparkling wine, whose volume rose 17.5 percent. Prosecco, according the report, saw a whopping 42 percent increase.
On the domestic side of the bubbly world, consumption held steady at nearly nine million cases. Sparkling wine sales both domestic and imported accounted for five percent of America's wine market, several sources reported.
The sparkling wine market in 2014 will most likely outpace its numbers from 1999, when 15.7 million cases of sparkling were sold in the millennium year, Shanken News Daily reported. 
Table wines continue their surge, Shanken reported, outgrowing imports for the sixth consecutive year.
“Among table wines, Chardonnay remains the largest-selling varietal in the country, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon,” Shanken reported. “But recent dynamic growth has come from Moscato, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.”

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