Why Bordeaux Consumption in the U.S. Has Been Declining Since the ’80s

Yet, while the trajectory of Petrus [a major Bordeaux wine estate] has been ever upward (and its price as well), the consumption of Bordeaux in the United States has been declining since hitting its peak in market share in the mid-’80s. Even the boozy precincts of France have become less boozy—about their wine, at least. In 1965 the country drank a liver-pickling 210 bottles a year per capita; today the number is a sober 75. Whatever the cause of that may be, hypotheses abound as to why Americans have cut down on claret. Most obvious, perhaps, is that from Austria to Australia, more places are making quality wine than ever before. There is also the fact that no other wine is as intimidating to talk about—saying the word terroir is a great way to kill the fun at a dinner party—or as confusing to know when to open. Add to this the perception of Bordeaux as being a rich man’s plaything, and the fact that plenty of those tatted-up somms pushing juice from the Jura and garage pinots from the Sonoma coast don’t want it on their precious wine lists, and you can see why Jean, who has more than just Petrus to worry about, is still very much working full-time.

Jay Fielden, writing for Town and Country about Jean Moueix, the charming 29-year-old scion of Bordeaux’s Petrus wine dynasty. Fielden travels from the vineyards of southwestern France to the tasting rooms of New York City in search of answers to a single question: can Moueix make Bordeaux cool again?

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