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What Wines Do Americans Drink With Dinner?

I live in a different universe than most wine drinkers in this country. And you do too, most likely, just by virtue of the fact that you're here reading this blog. But it's nice, at times to be reminded of what the majority of this country is drinking when it comes to wine. It's a way of reminding some of us about how privileged we are to be able to drink what we drink, and a good dose of reality when it comes to making assumptions about America's taste in wine.

Without further ado, here is the list of the top 25 brands of wine that Americans ordered in restaurants last year in order of volume:

1. Beringer Vineyards
2. Franzia Winetaps
3. Sutter Home
4. Copperidge
5. Inglenook
6. Kendall-Jackson
7. Yellow Tail
8. Burlwood
9. Woodbridge
11.William Wycliff
12.Foxhorn Vineyards
13.Glen Ellen
14.Corbett Canyon
16.La Terre
17.Sycamore Lane
18.Paul Masson
19.Martini & Rossi Vermouth
20.Salmon Creek
21.Stone Cellars
22.Ecco Domani
24.Robert Mondavi Private Selection
25.Chateau Ste. Michelle

This according to Restaurant Wine magazine, who compiles the annual report. The study also shows "animal brands" or "fun brands" grew 36% in volume, largely due to the marketing-blitz-in-a-bottle that is Yellow Tail.

Comments (11)

Doug wrote:
07.14.05 at 10:38 AM

Good point Alder, it's nice to be reminded how privelidged we are, not the least of which ~ access and means to enjoy fine wine. Thank you.

Fatemeh wrote:
07.14.05 at 1:22 PM

Indeed, we are QUITE privileged to have options that are head and shoulders above some of these, and quite often at prices that are not much higher.

I haven't followed the link yet, but I AM curious as to the breakdows by varietal, if they have them.

Melanie wrote:
07.15.05 at 11:53 AM

I like to drink Beringer's White Zinfandel when I just want a glass of wine, (not with dinner or anything) and it usually is my wine of choice pre-dinner at a restaurant. I lined up all the White Zin's and Beringer was definitely the best tasting, to me at least.

Alder wrote:
07.15.05 at 10:31 PM


I would agree with you that Beringer's white Zinfandel is the best of the lot.

Jeff wrote:
07.17.05 at 2:26 PM

At the risk of seeming unpleasant, I'm not sure if the comments about the white zin are sincere or otherwise... wow, if so. I'm no huge fan of Mondavi, but his private selection is at least real wine, if not spectacularly well-made.

In any event, important to keep in mind that this is restaurant wine consumption, not overall consumption. I suspect that there me be (quite a bit of) overlap, but there are almost certainly some differences. I can't recall ever seeing Copperidge or Burlwood at a wine shop, for example.

Alder wrote:
07.17.05 at 2:38 PM


Melanie seems to have a real web site, so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt and assuming that she's not getting paid to plug wines online and that she's not just posting a comment in order to get her name in print.

It is indeed important to recognize that this is the list of what people order in restaurants, not what they drink at home or at bars. There are a couple of brands on here that I haven't heard of either.

Karen wrote:
07.18.05 at 4:57 PM


Beringer White Zinfandel is a wine that must be vigorously promoted in the industry. It is "the wine" I notice people ordering when I am dining out. My assumption was that this was due, in part, to the fact that I reside in Nebraska. Based on your Post and the Comments that have followed, there is more to it than that. Beringer White Zinfandel is a wine I might drink while simmering through a hot and humid Nebraska evening at home. However, dining out is the perfect opportunity to explore the fascinating world of wine. Ordering one glass of a sumptuous wine leaves me feeling infinitely more content at the end of my dining experience. I am a novice in the area of wine, but through research and tasting I hope to change that! Vinography is a great place for me to unwind.

Ben wrote:
07.24.05 at 12:04 PM

Actually the best "White Zin" I ever had was actually a Pink Catawba from upstate New York. It had some lively acidity to keep up with the sweetness of the wine.

For the record, most sweet pink wines are not for me, but I would never deprive someone of their pleasure. Plus there's an argument that they can be "gateway wines."

Beringer has a sparkling white zin that I hope to one day have the experience of consuming. New world Cerdon du Bugey, baby! Yeah.

James wrote:
07.28.05 at 2:09 PM

I agree 100% you should always try a new wine each time you go out to eat. Trying to find the wine that not only is good but brings out the favors in your food. That is trully the challange when it comes to charting new wine territories. But summer time is time for sauv blancs and pinot grigios, New Zealand, Austrilia have some great ones. I'm still a great cab or a great pinot noir and chocolate cake.

Karen wrote:
07.29.05 at 11:11 PM

I would agree with the "gateway wine" theory. A couple years ago I was in Pennsylvania, and enjoyed a local Winery's Pink Catawba. That experience piqued my interest in wine. My early preference was for a chilled Mondoro with a splash of Chambord. Now, I prefer a red wine...and I understand the importance of a particular wine NOT being cold!!! I recently tried an Italian wine that was a blend of Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet. The taste was far superior to the sweet wines I used to prefer.

John wrote:
10.06.05 at 10:25 AM

For a great rose try Pink Fiddle by Fiddlehead Vineyards. Winemaker Kathy Joseph splits her time in the Santa Barbara, CA area and Oregon. What's unique is that the rose is made from pinot noir. Her pinot are a must try my personal favorite is the Fiddlehead Lallapalooza and 728. Should all go visit her is the "wine ghetto" winery in Lompoc just behind the Home Depot.

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