AMERICANS LOVE THEIR WINE
THERE MAY BE an international recession going on but it would seem that there are just some things we can’t do without. Global wine consumption, on the rise in past years, is forecast to continue to grow in the coming ones, with the US overtaking Italy as the world’s biggest consumer by 2O12, according to a new report released in January by the international wine and spirit record. Wine has also continued to climb in popularity in China and Russia, with consumption levels soon expected to overtake that of Spain, another nation historically associated with wine, the report said. It predicted that the financial and economic crisis affecting many wine-consuming countries worldwide would only have “limited” consequences for the growth of the wine sector. The report forecast growth for the coming four years roughly in line with pre-crisis trends. Global production and consumption are both expected to rise, the report said, with production expected to grow by 3.83 percent from 2OO8 to 2O12 to slightly over 3 billion 2.4-gallon (9-liter) cases. World consumption is to grow at an even quicker pace – 6 percent – over 2OO8 to 2O12, reaching 2.8 billion cases, the report said. The report, commissioned by the Bordeaux, France-based Vinexpo wine body, and presented at a news conference in Paris, predicted the United States would dethrone Italy to become the world’s biggest consumer of non-sparkling wines by 2O12. In 2OO7, Italy overtook France, its wine-producing neighbor, to claim the title, buying 299 million cases, the report said. Based on past and current trends, it forecast that US consumers would buy a total of 313 million cases in 2O12. Americans are already spending more on wine than any other nation. In 2OO7, the US invested nearly $22 billion in wine purchases. Surprisingly, Britons have outspent the French on wine since 2OO5, the report said. In Russia, expenditures on wine nearly doubled between 2OO3 and 2OO7 and are expected to reach nearly $6.5 billion by 2O12. Europe’s three main wine producers, France, Spain and Italy, among them make up half of global production. The three have been hit hard in recent years by increasing competition from New World vintners in the United States, South America and Africa.