Ooh la la! US eclipses France

12 December, 2008

Success of California wine gives United States a winning sales edge

US wine sales have overtaken France in the off-trade for the first time.

American sales, driven by California wines, grew 5% to £781 million in the year to November, while French sales slumped 3% to £780 million.

US volumes have also overtaken France, growing 3% to 15.6 million 9-litre cases while France's slipped 7% to 14.5 million.

Nielsen analyst Stewart Blunt said France had been victim to a sudden drop in bottom-end wine sales. "France has traditionally had a lot in the under-£3 sector, with vins de pays and cheapest-on-display Bordeaux. That chunk of the market has lost quite heavily over the past six months," he said.

"The US is making progress, but France has been sliding back a bit too, making the overtaking a tad easier ."

Rosé

- a real strength for the US, which saw

its pink sales soar 17% in the year to Oct 4 - has done particularly badly in France. Volume sales slipped 9% and value 5% in the year to November.

John McLaren, UK director of the California Wine Institute, said California's consumer-friendly and market-driven approach helped it finally overtake its arch-rival.

" The Californians do very well what the French don't do very well, which is to find out what the customer wants

- that is what everybody should do," he said. "We shouldn't in these competitive times be making the same old wine .

"California has grown up a lot, but there is no doubting that some of the finest wines on earth are made in France - but also, some of the finest wines in the world are now made in California," he added.

See feature, pages 22-23.




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Lifting the spirits

I were to sum up alcohol sales over Christmas 2017 in one word, it would be “gin”. At Nielsen, we define the Christmas period as the 12 weeks to December 30 and in that time gin sales were £199.4 million, which means they increased by £55.4 million compared with Christmas 2016. There’s no sign the bubble is about to burst either. Growth at Christmas 2016 was £22.4 million, so gin has increased its value growth nearly two-and-a-half times in a year. The spirit added more value to
total a

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