Somethings Going On…
-Jon Fredrikson, Wine Industry Analyst-
Yes, indeed. But what IS going on? Frederickson notes the impact of the movie "Sideways", the Supreme Court decision, "favorable demographics" and "a more positive public image for wine."
But just to confirm that more wine is being drunk in the U.S, it’s best to look at per capita consumption rates:
1970: 1.31 gallons 1980: 2.11 gallons 1997: 1.95 gallons 2004: 2.4 gallons
Certainly "Sideways" had an impact. However, I’m not sure the Supreme Court decision has led to an increase in direct shipping. We just don’t have the numbers in. It’s this last notion, that wine has "a more positive public image", which has some very interesting implications.
What is not mentioned but which might be what Fredrikson is talking about is the relationship between wine and health that is driving the movement toward more consumption. For a decade or more, since 60 Minutes" announced that the French have fewer heart problems because they drink red wine, we’ve been barraged with more and more news stories of the various ways wine improves one’s health. Hell, you could argue that wine is the miracle drug of the late 20th century.
At some point, this kind of information covers or removes many a stigma that is associate with alcohol consumption. And, it would lead to a long term increase in wine consumption.
Wineries knew this a LONG time ago. It wasn’t too long after the news of wine’s health benefits appeared in the media that the wine industry geared up to spread the news. Of course, the government and other "organizations" did all they could to put a stop to wineries saying nearly anything about the health benefits of wine under penalty of law.
Still, the news got out, didn’t it.