The U.S. is now officially the world’s largest consumer of wine, and it may be the changing tastes of millennials that are responsible for the shift. Not only do they drink more wine than older generations, they also explore newer varieties and artisanal wines. Wine has traditionally been the liquor served at weddings, but is now being used creatively for various social occasions. From wine and cheese evenings to yoga with wine sessions, the world of wine-lovers continues to evolve and change.
A nation of wine drinkers?
The amount of wine consumed per capita by Americans has been rising steadily. It has grown from 1.74 gallons of wine per capita in 1993 to 2.82 gallons in 2013, according to the Wine Institute. Millennials seem to be driving this trend, drinking more wine than older generations. As of 2015, they consumed 42% of al the wine drunk in the U.S. That’s a total of 159.6 million cases of wine.
This preference has made the U.S. the country with the largest consumption of wine in the world, according to Impact Databank. The total number of cases sold in 2013 came to over 329 million.
Red or white?
With as many as 7,700 vineyards scattered across the country in all 50 states, a good amount of the wine consumed is produced domestically. The top five favorite types of wine are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. Red wine has a slight edge over white in terms of volume sold, while rose has a smaller but faithful following.
Millennial tastes in wine also tend to be more expensive, and almost a fifth or 17% said that they have bought a bottle of wine worth $20 or more within the past month, as compared to 10% among the general population. Among boomers, that number was just 5% of all wine buyers.
New varieties of wine
There’s a greater willingness among younger wine drinkers to experiment with different varieties of wines and spirits from around the country and around the world. Artisanal wines have found a following. There’s also a greater willingness to take the wine drinking experience beyond more traditional settings.
Wine continues to be the favorite liquor for weddings and receptions, but tastings and wine pairings may happen at restaurants and cooking classes as well as wine stores. Yoga studios, painting classes and even museums combine the main event with wine. Many liquor stores also cater to changing tastes with selections from craft breweries and artisanal vineyards.
The U.S. is now the world’s largest consumer of wine, but trends in wine and liquors are increasingly driven by the tastes of millennials. There’s a greater willingness to try new varieties from around the country and around the world. Wine is also appearing at new social locations like yoga studios, painting classes and museums.