The United States is the fourth largest wine producer in the world behind the French, Italian and Spanish. They are also fourth in terms of cultivated area, with 450 hectares, making it one of the largest wholesalers and consumers in the world …
Since the end of Prohibition, the United States has embarked on the cultivation of French varietals, which make their success by their good adaptability of the American climate. The latter is also similar to that found in Europe, Mediterranean and oceanic type.
That said, a specific American peculiarity could certainly surprise the European model! Wine production is not treated in the same way, from producer to processor. They are even two very distinct roles, since the cultivation of bunches of grapes is a trade and their transformation another, both linked by a contract.
The price of a bottle does not depend on “the house” but on a deal with the grape variety used annually. In fact, we are witnessing a relic of Prohibition: it is therefore a strict federal and state regulation put in place, symbolized by the “Three-tier System”, which governs the distribution of American wines.
All wine must therefore pass successively by an importer, a wholesaler and then a restaurant owner in order to be finally offered for consumption. This regulation has the effect of increasing up to 4 times the price of a bottle, since the latter is subcontracted by different services … Nevertheless, this system, true to the model of liberalism, succeeds in the United States . And worse than that: it would even surpass the preachers of wine, namely the French!
A discreet news item in France concerns the “Paris judgment” of 1976, which made French wine producers pale in competition with their American counterparts. They then saw their white and red wines at the top of the podium, during a blind tasting. Following this, wine prices flew to the United States and French producers have long shunned their comrades United States.
It is safe to say that if the French remain a quality reference, others also claim and seize a market now highly competitive with the “Old World”, namely France, Italy and the United States. Spain!