Minneapolis, Minn. (Oct. 5, 2020) – The U.S. wine market fell 0.2% to 345.1 million 9-liter cases in 2019, according to the Beverage Information Group’s 2020 Wine Handbook. While it may be a scant decrease, it marks the first decline in total wine consumption in 25 years.
Selling wine has become more challenging as Baby Boomers are drinking less overall, and Millennials increasingly turn to spirits, cocktails, hard seltzers, non-alcoholic beer and other beverages. The drop in total wine consumption growth is evident in the table wine category, which fell 0.4% to 313 million 9-liter cases. As with other segments of the wine category, imports—down 0.2%—fared slightly better in 2019 than domestic table wines, which decreased 0.5%.
Champagne and sparkling wine consumption, which has averaged a growth rate of 55% during the past 10 years, was the key driver of growth in the overall wine category. This segment grew by 3.1% to reach 24.9 million 9-liter cases in 2019. That represents 18 consecutive years in which the total Champagne/sparkling wine category has increased.
The imported sparkling wines segment, which was up nearly 8%, fueled the growth, as domestic fell slightly. Just three brands in the top-10 domestic sparklers posted increases in consumption. Meanwhile, just two brands in the top-10 imported sparklers saw declines. The four prosecco brands in the top-10 imports—La Marca, Mionetto, Ruffino and Zonin—all enjoyed double-digit growth in 2019.
Some of the lagging categories turned positive last year. For instance, consumption in the Dessert & Fortified Wine category, which has been on a downward trajectory since 1987, stabilized in 2019 with growth of 0.2% to 7.85 million 9-liter cases. And the vermouth/apéritif category, which saw average declines of 1.3% in the past decade, in 2019 posted 1.4% growth to 1.50 million 9-liter cases. The increasing popularity of low-ABV alcoholic drinks has helped spotlight the vermouth/apéritif segment, while consumer interest in iconic cocktails such as the Negroni, Martini and the Manhattan also boosted sales.
The wine industry faces a number of headwinds today, from the coronavirus pandemic, the challenging trade and tariff environment, and the fact that Millennial consumers have not yet embraced wine as their primary beverage of choice. Opportunities exist for wine brands that can redirect their marketing and packaging to the lifestyle priorities and purchasing habits of Millennials and Generation X.
About the 2020 Wine Handbook
The Beverage Information Group’s 2020 Wine Handbook is the most comprehensive source of information on U.S. wine industry sales trends. It includes consumption data and projected sales by category and by market, as well as leading brands and historical information. Categories include table, fortified and dessert wines, sparkling and Champagne, vermouth and wine coolers. The publications can be purchased at www.bevinfostore.com or by calling Sherai Falcon at 763-383-4400 ext. 4423.