I'm completely fascinated whenever I learn more about what the "average" American drinks when it comes to wine. The Restaurant Magazine annual report on the top selling brands of wines in America that I regularly reference here on Vinography is always a sober wake up call to most of us who are wine lovers, because it represents a world of wine that we left behind a long time ago, or in some cases, have never experienced.
Is it safe to assume that none of you reading this blog regularly buy Turning Leaf or Franzia boxed wine from Safeway? Last time I did a survey of you readers, you were regularly paying more than $15 for your average bottle.
So I was pleased to see a new piece of research this week that added some more depth of understanding to my sense of what the average American wine experience is like. Released on Thursday, the Winemetrics LLC first annual On-Premise Wine Distribution Report, takes a look at the composition of wine lists around the country. Based on surveys of 10,000 restaurants in 20 states with a mix of casual and fine dining restaurants represented, the survey corroborates the findings of the annual brand survey referencing the top selling wines in America: Beringer, Kendall-Jackson, and Mondavi among other usual suspects.
However, this survey goes a little deeper, and offers up the following additional tidbits of interest:
The top 100 brands represented on American wine lists actually include 15 French wines, 7 Italian, 2 Australian, and 1 Chilean.
I never would have guessed these numbers. If you had asked me I would have thought that one or two would be French (remember Mouton Cadet?) and there would be likewise be only one or two from Spain and Italy as well. I assume the wines from Australia is Yellow Tail, and probably Rosemount or some other Penfolds brand. I don't have a good sense of what the Chilean wine would be.
Other top selling brands include Caymus, Cakebread, Sterling Vineyards, Veuve Clicquot, and Clos du Bois
This was interesting to me, mostly because several of these tend to be more expensive wines, certainly more expensive than all the wines on the top 10 brand list. The survey goes on to report that the largest number of wines consumed in restaurants cost between $25 and $39, but the article referencing the survey doesn't say what percentage of all the wines consumed is represented by this "largest number." I assume it is less than 50% as they didn't use the phrase "the majority."
Americans drink twice as much red wine as white, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir being the two top choices, trailed by Merlot in a close third. The top white wine is Chardonnay.
I guess this is not so surprising on any front, though I wish I knew what the number two white was. Any guesses? My bet is Sauvignon/Fume Blanc, with Pinot Grigio trailing with a distant third place.
It's important to remember that this analysis is only in 20 states, and that actual national stats may be a little different.
Winemetrics is an interesting company -- it offers a service that statistically analyzes your wine list compared to national averages, both on price as well as on brand and geographical representation. A service which I suppose some people would find valuable, but which is a little weird. I understand the pricing part of it, but I guess there are restaurants that might be interested in making sure that the geographical distribution of the wines on their list meet the national average -- like big national chain restaurants, etc.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Wine and Beauty Explained San Francisco's Lost Sommeliers Finding Pirate Treasure With a Corkscrew Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 1, 2015 Vinography Images: Sonoma Spring Siduri Wines: Rewarding the Search for Flavor Vinography Unboxed: Week of February 22, 2015 Vinography Images: Frost and Fog The Glory of 2013 Napa Cabernet: Tasting Premiere Napa Valley A Dose of Claret: Visiting With 2010 Bordeaux
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune