Monday, January 27, 2020

US states do not import wine from the same places

The USA is not a united wine market, if only because of the state-based Tree-Tier system of alcohol distribution, which gives the distributors in many states great power to determine which wines end up where (see Prohibition still exists in the USA). It would therefore be interesting to look at the data regarding which wines are preferentially imported into which states of the USA.

There do not seem to be complete data freely available regarding his question. However, a recent report from Wine Intelligence, on Opportunities in the US Market for Portuguese Wines (October 2019), does provide data for some of the most populous states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. The first four of these states have the largest populations, accounting for 33% of the nation’s people between them, and the seven states together make up 42%. So, these data are worth looking at, even though they are incomplete.

The data come from the Vinitrac survey, and refer to the percentage of respondents who stated that they had consumed wine from each of 15 named regions in the previous 6 months. The data are shown in this 3-D bar chart, with the 15 wine-producing regions along the bottom, the 7 import states along the right, and the respondent percentage vertically.

Wine preferences for seven states of the USA

The patterns are very similar across the seven states, but there are notable differences. The rank-order of the wine regions does differ between the US states, although Californian wine is most preferred in all of the states, with Italy ranking second, and Slovenian wine ranking last (of these 7 regions only).

The most obviously different state is California, where the people clearly have a greater preference for Californian wine (78% of respondents) than do the other people (c. 66% of respondents). Perhaps this does not surprise you? This extra consumption is counter-balanced by less consumption of wine from the other US states, along with Italy and France.

French wine is preferred to non-Californian US wine in California, Florida, New Jersey and Massachusetts, but it is the other way around in Texas, New York and Illinois. Spanish wine ranks next, everywhere, followed by Australian wine.

Chilean wine is more popular than Argentinian wine in all of the states except Massachusetts. German wine does slightly better than New Zealand wine, except in California and Massachusetts. Portuguese wine does better in New Jersey and Massachusetts than it does elsewhere (twice as well as in Texas and Illinois).

The wines of South Africa are not as popular in Texas as they are elsewhere. Canadian wines are surprisingly popular in New York, while Greek wines do best in New York and Illinois.

It is interesting to note the presence of Slovenia in the survey. It has recently been noted that Slovenian wine is fast gaining recognition in the USA, although it clearly has a long way to go to challenge any of the other wine-producing regions in popularity.

Mind you, this whole situation is currently under threat from Mr Trump, who wants to remove Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Greece and Slovenia from these lists (see Alder Yarrow's compendium: The disastrous tariff edition). This seems very much like: Cutting off your nose to spite your face.

1 comment:

  1. "Chilean wine is more popular than Argentinian wine in all of the states except Massachusetts."

    This is surprising to me, as I find Argentine Malbec to be ubiquitous in Los Angeles fine wine and grocery stores.  Whereas finding many Chilean Carmineres is a challenge.

    (And Argentine Torrontes white wine is more ubiquitous than Chilean Sauvignon Blanc in stores.)

    ". . . Greek wines do best in New York and Illinois" based on Greek immigrant enclaves in New York city and Chicago.

    Recent news: President Trump and President Macron have negotiated a "truce" to suspend until the end of the year the U.S. imposition of a 100% tariff on French wines.

    The Drinks Business - posted January 21, 2020



    "French wine is certainly not out of the woods just yet. It has already been the target of US tariffs after a 25% import duty was imposed on still wine (not over 14% ABV) back in October. The tariffs also affect products made in Germany, Spain and the UK, transported in containers of 2 litres or less. Liqueurs made in Germany, Ireland, Spain and the UK as well as Scotch whisky are also subject to an additional 25% tariff.

    "These tariffs are in response to a separate issue, specifically a dispute over subsidies given to aviation company Airbus over rival Boeing."