You may be hard-pressed to find a glass of Chilean Cabernet in some parts of the United States, where Chilean winemakers have yet to penetrate the local market. Yet a recent poll shows that the availability of Chilean wine far from matches a growing taste for it across the country. North Americans are increasingly interested in buying wine from the New World, looking beyond the likes of Napa Valley and traditional European vintners toward the world-class wines coming out of Chile.
Surveying 2,056 adults online about their wine drinking and purchasing preferences, The Harris Poll discovered that nearly half of U.S. adults over 21 drink wine several times monthly, and about 22 percent buy four or more bottles of wine each month.
Of the adults polled, a sizable 89 percent buy or drink wine from the United States. As for wines produced abroad, Chile came in fourth place — behind Italy, Australia and France — with more than one in every five adults (21 percent) surveyed saying they buy or drink Chilean wine.
Comparing the 2012 poll with previous results from 2004 and 2008, Chile was the only nation in the top five to rise in each consecutive poll, increasing from 16 to 21 percent between 2004 and 2012. The U.S. and Australia remained largely stagnant while Italy and France each dropped in prevalence, from 44 to 37 percent for Italy, and from 40 to 33 percent for France.
Current purchasing and drinking habits, however, don’t capture the whole story. Polling results suggest that U.S. wine drinkers are looking to broaden their horizons, but often stick to labels and brands they know best, meaning Chilean wineries have both a challenge and an opportunity to engage with consumers and make their brands more available and appealing to U.S. drinkers.
Among the U.S. adults polled, 38 percent said they would consider purchasing wine from Chile, up from 34 percent in 2008, and notably more than the 21 percent who currently buy or drink Chilean wines. The poll also reflects a broader trend of drinkers becoming increasingly interested in New World wines.
The U.S. market is likewise open to purchasing Premium wine from abroad. When asked how much U.S. adults spent on the last bottle of wine they purchased, 39 percent answered that they spent over US$14. Another 34 percent of adults surveyed said that in the past they had spent US$30 or more on a bottle of wine.
For the full results of the poll, see the release available here.