A Vintage Year for Statistics on Wine Purchases

Within living memory, an American who regularly drank wine (rather than beer or the hard stuff) would seem like an oddball, if not a downright suspicious character. Those days are long gone. A new Harris Poll finds regular visits to the wine store are now a normal part of American life.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they never buy wine, and an equal number said they do so once a month or less often. But 9 percent buy wine two or three times a month, 5 percent do so once a week and 5 percent buy wine twice a week or more often. Among respondents who said they ever buy wine, 33 percent do so at least a couple times a month. Twenty percent said they drink wine at least twice a week.

The polling (conducted in December) also indicates that Americans who do buy wine have traded up from the bargain-basement jug wines of yesteryear. Among respondents who ever buy wine, 20 percent reported spending $20 or more for their most recent bottle. Another 23 percent said they spent $15 to $19, and 30 percent spent $10 to $14. Just over one-quarter of wine-drinking respondents (27 percent) said they purchased their most recent bottle for less than $10. At some point in their lives, 37 percent have bought a bottle costing $30 or more.

Ninety percent of those who ever buy or drink wine said they’ve had wine produced in the U.S. Significant numbers of them have had bottles from Italy and Australia (both 37 percent), France (34 percent), Germany and Spain (both 22 percent), Chile (20 percent), Argentina (18 percent), New Zealand (12 percent) and South Africa (10 percent).