Can Greeks Turn Us Into a Nation of Wine drinkers?

We don’t live in a "wine drinking nation".

Based on a poll they conducted in December 2004, Harris Interactive concludes: "Most Americans who buy wine do not do it very often and do not spend very much per bottle."

I guess this isn’t really news, but it does serve to remind us that the vast bulk of wines consumed in America are not the wines that get enthusiasts all excited.

To quote again from the analysis of the poll:

"Fully 73 percent of wine purchasers say that they, or people in their household, only buy a bottle of wine once a month or less and, in most cases, the wine costs less than $15 a bottle, with fully 31 percent saying that the last bottle of wine bought cost under $10. Only 36 of wine purchasers have ever bought a more expensive bottle of wine costing $30 or more."

Of course, one thing these poll results scream out is the potential for a significant increase in market share that could come wine’s way. Recent reports suggest the wine market is expanding. Combine this apparent willingness of more Americans to drink wine with an expanding economy and you have good times in the wine business. My reading of the market suggests that the 27-40 year olds are the group that will push this move.

The poll also gave some inkling that Americans would be willing to indulge in wines from countries not often associated with the idea of "wine country". Pollsters asked first if respondents ever bought or drunk certain countries’ wines then asked if they would "consider buying it."

The result:

-Australia – 32% buy….52% would consider buying
-Germany – 23% buy….48% would consider buying
-Chile – 16% buy…36% would consider buying
-New Zealand – 10%…41% would consider buying
-Argentina – 9%…35% would consider buying
-South Africa – 6% buy…29% would consider buying
-Greece – 5% buy…36% would consider buying

Harris suggests these findings are good news for lesser known wine regions. And I can see what they mean, particularly where Greece and New Zealand are concerned. Of course the wild card here is marketing. How do you get someone to try buy a Greek wine without it being $4 or without first pumping ouzo down the buyer’s throat? I have some ideas on that question and in fact I’d bet with about $1,500,000 you could take the Greek’s 5% share and move it to somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% who had bought it. What you need first though is good $7 wine, good distribution and a good PR Firm.

Posted In: Wine News


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