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US Tops France as Wine Sipping Leader

According to a report in the San Francisco Business Times, the United States supplanted France as the world’s largest wine-consuming nation in 2010, according to wine industry consultants Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, by roughly 330 million cases to France’s 320.6 million. Of course, the United States’ population dwarfs that of France, so “per capita, they’re still drinking way more than us,” said Gladys Horiuchi, a spokeswoman for the Wine Institute, to the Times.

The Woodside-based Gomberg, Fredrikson consulting firm said wine shipments from California, other states and foreign producers jumped 2 percent last year, to almost 330 million cases, a record high.

And estimated retail value jumped four percent to $30 billion, Gomberg, Fredrikson said.

The Golden State accounted for 61 percent, by volume, of the total U.S. wine market, with sales of 199.6 million cases, up 1 percent from the previous year, and boasting a retail value of $18.5 billion. In contrast, other states produced just 24.9 million cases, cumulatively, of the wine shipped in or to the United States, while foreign producers—including hot spots like France, Italy, Chile, Argentina, Germany, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, among others—jointly accounted for 105.2 million cases.

However, California’s 2010 total was lower than 2007’s $18.9 billion and just matched 2008’s $18.5 billion, not accounting for inflation, so California’s rebound still has a ways to go.

California’s wine shipments worldwide to all markets, foreign and domestic, totaled 241.8 million cases, up 2 percent from 2009’s tally.

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