Wine sales resume in 2009 after earlier dip

Wed Dec 2, 2009 4:45pm EST
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By Basil Katz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Wine sales for 2009 are forecast to be up from last year, in a sign consumers may be regaining some confidence in the economy, a new report shows.

Market research group Mintel predicts wine sales will have risen by 2.1 percent to $27.6 billion dollars in 2009, up from $27 billion last year.

In 2008, sales declined 3.2 percent, after years of constant growth.

"In 2008, the recession was at its peak," said Garima Goel Lal, an analyst at Mintel, adding that people drank less wine in restaurants and in bars.

Consumers ditched luxury and imported wines priced at over $16 dollars a bottle in favor of bargains such as boxed and domestic value-priced wine, according to the report.

"Customers traded down in favor of domestic wines," Goel Lal explained.

The report showed domestic wines accounted for almost three quarters of sales by volume in 2008. The growth is set to continue as a weak dollar puts an extra premium on imported vintages.

"People are more open to getting a good value for wine, it's hip now," said Nora Feeley, of U.S. wine and spirits maker Constellation Brands Inc.   Continued...

<p>French wines are displayed on sale at Union Square Wines in New York November 16, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>