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Delhi Wine Club
Majority of Americans Drink Wine without Food

Posted: Monday, 28 March 2011 11:40

Majority of Americans Drink Wine without Food

While an informal survey last year by delWine, indicating that Indians don’t like to drink wine with Indian food made overseas wine producers sit up and take note, a recent study in the US claims that a majority of even Americans drink wine away from the dinner table and prefer wines that are off dry and slightly sweet.

Traditionally, European drinkers and the high-end Californian producers believe that wine is a food product and needs to be part of the meal; only 40 % of those surveyed indicated they drink wine with meals only.

The survey was conducted by a consultancy firm Wine Opinions, of about 800 wine drinkers selected from their 5,500 consumer panel members  from the 29 million wine drinkers in the U.S. who drink wine daily or several-times-a-week; US has a total of about 77 million wine drinkers, according to the report by Napa Valley Register which  says the survey confirms suspicions that the majority of wine in the USA is drunk without food.

Among the most popular wines in America are reportedly white zinfandel (referred to as ‘blush’ by producers in India), off-dry chardonnay, slightly sweet Pinot Grigio, Muscat and Riesling, according to the survey. Even red wines are reportedly slightly sweet and contain perceptible residual sugar and the high-alcohol wines like big Napa Cabernets and Chardonnays can also appear sweet on the palate even if they don’t have significant levels of residual sugar left after fermentation.

A quarter of the respondents reported that they consumed wine without food while 14% said they drank a significant amount while preparing food, with 19% preferring it with snacks (the most common form of food taken by Indian wine drinkers). Only the balance 40% emphasized food on the dinner table with wine. About 54% of those surveyed were women.

As one may guess, older respondents said they drank wine mostly with meals while more people in the younger segment imbibed it without food. When ordered in restaurants, 60% said they drank with meals while 20% consumed it before meals as aperitifs. They drink more wine over the weekend; over half is consumed on Saturday and Sunday while a third is drunk on week days from Monday through Thursday. 

Surprisingly, while white wine is generally regarded as the preferred wine as aperitif, only a quarter preferred it to red wine without food.

The report suggests that it is not always advisable to concentrate on the food and wine match; there are opportunities for wineries to sell additional volumes if they focus on  occasions other than dinner, particularly for younger wine lovers or those out for drinks only. The complete report may be purchased online on the Wine Opinions website

For the earlier related article in delWine, visit



Kapil Says:

Interesting write up indeed.The wine-food pairing somehow increases the already created dilemma due to varieties for wine consumers in markets like India. I sometime worry that the recommended wine food pairing should not confuse particularly first time wine drinkers. This trend can be leveraged very well for Indian market.

Posted @ April 01, 2011 10:36


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