Wine sales up 2% in 2008 according to California Wine Institute

    wine-institute-california-logoFor those interested in wine only for its passion and otherworldly romantic qualities, stop reading now. Because we’re going to talk about numbers and the wine industry. 

    The first involves slight growth, 2% in volume in 2008 over the previous year, which is still impressive considering the challenging economy. A case, no pun intended, could be made that says as people face difficult times, they drink more — choosing low-cost quantity over quality.

    Other interesting highlights from the report:

    • $18.5B – the total retail value of all wine shipments in 2008
    • 875,00 – number of wine-related jobs in the US
    • 35% – ratio of those jobs located in California
    • US wine exports reached $1B last year (that’s 55 million cases) with largest increase to Canada, up 11% (what, less beer?!)
    • Red leads white slightly 44% vs. 42% respectively (with the remaining 14% blush)

    According to a consultant:

    “Wine continues to move further into mainstream American adult lifestyles, with sales expanding incrementally based on cautious consumer spending,” said consultant Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg-Fredrikson & Associates. “Consumers are changing their buying patterns by ratcheting down their everyday wine purchases to lower price points, but splurge on higher-priced wines at times because they view wine as an affordable luxury.”

    So there you have it, probably no surprises: red wine consumption continues to outstrip white slightly, exports are increasing to Canada and Europe, and interestingly Pinot gained the most in retail sales (up 16%).

    The recession is having an impact. Restaurant sales of wine are down 10% as “consumers dined out less and purchased lower-priced bottles and wines-by-the glass” and “Businesses scaled back on travel and entertainment budgets.”

    [Source, Wine Institute: 2008 California Wine Shipments Hold Steady Amid Economic Downturn]

    Explore. Create. Live. Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 9,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Subscribe to 
    Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.