Reinventing the American Wine Industry: Marketing Strategies and the Construction of Wine Culture

by Ai Hisano

Overview — Since the 1960s, the United States has seen spectacular growth in wine consumption. This paper explores how businesses reinveted the image of wine. This creation of the new market, like other consumer products, had social and cultural consequences. In the US, wine became a status symbol and a renforcer of social and class divisions.

Author Abstract

This working paper examines the remarkable growth of wine consumption in the United States since the 1960s. The country is now the largest wine consumer in the world, exceeding the wine-producing European countries such as France and Italy, which had long dominated world markets. The paper identifies the late 1960s and 1970s as the major turning point by analyzing the role of businesses in reinventing the image of wine from a cheap and very alcoholic beverage to a sophisticated natural product and fine accompaniment for gourmet food. By creating wine as a symbol of social status, the reimagined wine industry became a reinforcer of social and class divisions in the United States.


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