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Study Finds Most Wine Not Enjoyed with Meals

A new survey reveals the drinking habit of high-frequency wine consumers

April 4, 2011

Although wine and food go great together, one study shows that most frequent consumers don't mind drinking sans meal

Nothing adds more to the enjoyment of a fine dinner than a good bottle of wine. But according to a recent survey of frequent wine drinkers taken by the Wine Options consumer panel of Napa Valley, the majority of wine is not drunk with meals.

The panel studied the drinking habits of 800 high-frequency wine consumers who drink wine daily or at least a few times a week. This group amounts to 29 million wine drinkers who are responsible for 82 per cent of total wine sales in the United States. These folks are also more likely to purchase wines that cost more than $15 a bottle. But while they enjoy wine frequently and purchase more up-market wine, only 40 per cent of it is drunk with meals. As to the other 60 per cent, 14 per cent is sipped while preparing a meal and 19 per cent consumed with snacks or appetizers. Also, more wine is imbibed on weekends than during the week, with 42 per cent drunk with dinner, 24 per cent before dinner and 23 per cent after dinner, concluding that the majority of wine is not consumed with meals.

The survey detected a trend of older participants drinking the largest proportion of wine with their meal while the younger segment surveyed drank more vino sans food. Wine Options also found that only a quarter of those surveyed preferred to drink white wine without food. With more wine consumed away from the table, wineries have the opportunity to emphasize their sales for occasions other than dinner.

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