U.S. Wine Sales Tops France

By: Bill Waters - Staff Writer
Published: Mar 19, 2021

U.S. Wine Sales France. U.S. wine sales have topped France — on both sides of the Atlantic — for the first time. However, it’s too soon to break out the “We’re No. 1″ foam fingers.

In terms of per capita consumption, the French still are well ahead at an average 12.2 gallons per year compared to 2.6 gallons for the U.S.

Still, many in the industry saw the figures, released this week by the San Francisco-based Wine Institute, as an important step.

“It’s exciting,” said Stephanie Gallo, vice president of marketing for Modesto-based Gallo Family Vineyards. “It’s great for the industry and it’s great for a whole host of reasons.”

Why now? Part of the story is that as U.S. per capita consumption has risen, French consumption has fallen. In fact, U.S. wine consumption continued to grow during the recession, though many consumers switched to cheaper wines.

“We just completed 17 straight years of growth in consumption of table wine in the United States, which is really an incredible record,” said John Gillespie, president of the Wine Market Council, a trade association based in the Napa Valley.

Another factor was the introduction of lesser-known varieties, such as moscato, a sweeter white wine that has seen a big boost in popularity in the U.S. Gallo sees the appeal of that wine as dovetailing with another trend, the rise of wine-lovers among the millennial generation — people born after 1980.

“What we’re seeing is that they’re turning to wine as their preferred alcoholic beverage of choice and they are interested in more approachable, slightly sweet, aromatic wines like moscato,” she said.

Meanwhile, Americans also are paying increased attention to what’s on their plate, which has spurred equal interest in what’s in their glasses.

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