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Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

The Californian wine industry was celebrating this week, after the latest AC Nielsen statistics revealed that the US has eclipsed Italy as the off-trade's third-biggest wine supplier. The Nielsen off-trade market share figures, which run up to the end of December 2003, show Australia comfortably ahead of the pack, with 20.4% by volume and 23.7% by value, followed by France with 19.4% and 20%. Growth of 23% by volume and 20% by value, meanwhile, has put the US, which is 95% California, up to number three, with 11.7% of volume and 12.5% of value. Italy, with 11.1% volume and 9.8% value, is relegated to fourth place. We are obviously delighted at the rapid progress we are making in this, California's most important market,' said John McLaren, UK director of the Wine Institute of California. We are also very conscious that these figures were achieved before the dollar's most recent slump, so we are confident of similar growth in 2004.' Pierpaolo Petrassi, commercial manager of IWS, which supplies 20% of the UK off-trade's Italian wine, said the 3% slump in Italian sales volume should be set against the 1% value rise that suggested that Italy, like Spain, is facing more competition than ever before at sub-3 from Australia, California and South Africa.'