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The world boom of Muscat

October 22, 2012 by María Elena Graffigna | in Exports, News

Muscat sales have had an incredible success in the US. In 2011, the amount of USD 300 million was sold in this country, over three times higher than in 2009. Today, it is known as "Little Black Dress", suggesting that its consumption is perfect for any occasion.

This huge consumption growth of sweet Muscats in the United States has fueled by different reasons. Firstly, as they are sweet and easy-to-drink wines they are capturing wine consumers from new generations, with little or no experience. Most of them are young people of the Millennial generation, having a strong online presence and users of social networks. Moreover, these products are generally low priced, very popular in wine shops of big cities. This “urban” characteristic of their demand is greatly influenced by the Hip-Hop culture, main stars of which have namechecked this grape variety in their songs.

The boom of Muscat, as well as of sweet red wines, is also revealing that US consumers are preferring wines in general, since they drink what they want instead of what they “should”. As it is sweet and intimidating, this wine is a great gateway for those who are not used to drink wine.

Marketing campaigns are also paving new ways for this product, as it is linked with the hip-hop culture. Besides, they are targeted particularly at women by using names like ““Little Black Dress”, suggesting that as this garment, Muscat is perfect for any occasion.

Sales of this variety are significantly led by the top US brands. Gallo, selling white Muscat under Barefoot and Gallo Family Vineyards brands, controls 43% of the market, followed by Sutter Home with 27%. This growth of popularity is driving Muscat plantings up in California, Chile, Argentina, France and Spain, as well as propelling bulk wine imports of these destinations, in order for these leading companies to meet the demand.

Although this great phenomenon emerged in the United States, it seems to spread to other markets. In the United Kingdom, for example, these wines enjoyed an incredible success during the spring/summer season, driven by the increasing trend of this market toward wines with lower alcohol levels, because of both their health benefits and lower duty rates, consequently lower prices. In fact, Gallo made a strong promotion of its Muscats during this season.

In conclusion, Muscat’s boom is clearly a demand phenomenon, originated in the new and dynamic US market, and then spread to other markets. Basically, the trend toward sweeter, younger and more easy-to-drink styles has set fashion that seems not to be a passing phenomenon.

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