American wine sales set to eclipse France

27 August, 2008
Page 8 
Although all the numbers have not been crunched, industry analysts say that wine consumption in the US grew in 2007 for the 15th straight year.

Projected estimates have the nation reaching a record 304 million cases of wine consumed, putting the US ahead of Italy and trailing only France in per-capita consumption. At the current rate of growth, Americans will overtake the French by 2015.

Americans continue to prefer Chardonnay above all other varieties, with sales of 64 million cases projected in 2007. But Chardonnay's hold on the consumer may be weakening. A survey released in January by Wine Opinions, an internet-based company that provides wine-industry research, showed that most Chardonnay drinkers are 60 or older. Younger drinkers are more experimental.

Those younger drinkers are also less brand loyal. If they like a wine they do not care where it comes from or even what the label looks like, according to another report from MFK Associates, a wine consulting group based in Napa.

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Nick Strangeway

Hacha leads by example

Back in 2002 celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched Fifteen, a restaurant made up of a team of trainee chefs from underprivileged backgrounds.

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