The numbers support Goodland's claim. From 1994 through 2007, the U.S wine market grew every year, increasing in volume a total of 66 percent. In 2007, Americans over the age of 21 consumed on average a record 2.47 gallons for the year.
"As the U.S. marked the 75th anniversary of the end of Prohibition on December 5," she adds, "it is interesting to note that while Americans are drinking more wine, particularly more red wine, they are drinking much less beer and the same amount of hard liquor as they did 50 years ago."
Sales of U.S wine reached 745 million gallons last year for a total retail value of $30 billion, making the U.S. the largest retail wine market in the world, according to The Wine Institute.
According to Goodland, a boom in wine sales was predicted when Prohibition was lifted in 1933, but it was not realized.
"First the Depression and then a lack of research and development by the industry, coupled with the overplanting of inferior grapes, kept sales down," explains Goodlad, who is researching the history of the American wine industry. "It wasn't until the 1970s that the U.S. began to be seen as a serious wine-producing region."
The current increase in wine's popularity can be attributed to baby boomers, who appreciate its health benefits, and to 25- to 35-year-olds, who tend to eat out more than their parents' generation.
"People tend to have a glass of wine with dinner when they are out of the house rather than opening up an entire bottle for one glass," she adds.
Karen Goodlad's Wine Recommendations:
* King Estate, Domaine Pinot Gris, ~$10.00
“Made from 100% organically grown grapes, this Pinot Gris (or Grigio) from Oregon shows ripe pear and honeysuckle aromas and is rich on the palate. Enjoy the wine on its own or with roasted chicken.”
*Kunde Wine Estates, Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc, ~$15.00
“Known for its sustainable growing practices, Kunde Wine Estates produces this lovely Sonoma County, California Sauvignon Blanc. The wine shows flavors of fresh grapefruit and melon. It is crisp and clean and pairs well with raw oysters and grilled shrimp.”
* Morro Bay, Split Oak Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, ~$10.00
“This single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon will please those looking for great taste and an affordable wine from a winery that practices sustainable farming practices. The wine has complex black cherry and toffee notes with just the right amount of tannin. Enjoy with a pasta with bolognaise sauce or steak.”
* Kunde Wine Estates, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, ~$20.00
“Known for sustainable wine growing practices, Kunde Wine Estates produces a delectable reserve series of wines. The ripe, lush blackberry flavors show beautifully through the toasty oak. Enjoy with grilled steaks and roasted vegetables with garlic.”