U.S. wine consumption closing in on France's

From Wine Spectator:

In spite of a sluggish economy, U.S. wine consumption registered its 14th consecutive annual gain in 2007, as Americans drank more wine than Italians for the first time ever and now trail only the French in total wine consumed.

After a solid 4% gain last year, U.S. wine consumption stood at a record 301.5 million 9-liter cases, according to the recently released 2007 edition of "The Global Drinks Market: Impact Databank Review and Forecast." American consumption is expected to further increase in the foreseeable future, and at current rates, the United States will surpass France as the world's largest wine-consuming market within five years.

In per-capita terms, Americans still lag far behind the French and Italians, consuming less than 9 liters per adult in 2007. Per-capita consumption in France and Italy, by contrast, stood at 52 liters and 46 liters, respectively, last year.

China was the world's fastest-growing wine market in 2007, and the Chinese represent a tremendous upside for consumption as their per-capita level stood at only a half-liter last year.

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