The US has topped France as the world's largest wine-consuming nation in 2010 owing to an increasing interest in wine and food lifestyle, as well as its rising population.

According to wine-industry consultants, Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates in Woodside, wine shipments to the U.S. from California, other states and foreign producers increased 2 percent from last year, setting a record-high of 330 million cases for the industry.

U.S. wine market conditions remain highly competitive, but we are optimistic that this growth trend will continue.  Americans are increasingly interested in a lifestyle with wine and food, demonstrated by the presence of wineries in all 50 states and 17 consecutive years of growth in U.S. wine consumption, stated Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.

Of the total US wine market, California accounted for 61 percent volume share with sales at 199.6 million cases. This was up from the previous year's sales by 1 percent. Total wine shipments from California, on the other hand, to all markets in the U.S. and abroad (including exports) were 241.8 million cases, up 2% from the previous year.

Although the French still eclipse the US in per-capita consumption, the latter, with a domestic population of over 300 million people, has led to the increased aggregate numbers.