It is a welcomed trend for those of us who are wine fanatics. We have come a long way. I recall my father telling me that when he first became interested in wine in the 1950s he went into a store in Chicago and asked for a Zinfandel. The owner laughed and said “Kid, there are only two types of wine: red and white.”
The French are still number one in personal consumption. The average American drinks three gallons of wine a year (due largely to my own consumption being averaged across the nation). That is up from one gallon per person in 1970. However, the average Frenchmen still drinks 5 bottles to every one bottle for every American.
Clearly, the most important measure is quality. I am a great fan of France and its wines. My only complaint is that, in visiting France, it is almost impossible to find more than one or two bottles of American wine in wine stores. When you ask about it, the owners always say that their customers simply prefer French wines. This may be in part true but it is also likely due to the refusal of owners to expose French citizens to a greater array of American wines. It is a raw demonstration of French chauvinism and runs against a true love for wine that should not be blinded by nationalism. American wines are now easily competitive with French wines and often win in international competitions.
I agree that the French has a greater number and deeper number of fine wines. I love tasting local wines in France, which are often amazing in their quality. However, there is a lack of mutuality between wine lovers in both countries. You can go to any fine restaurant in the United States and find a great array of French wines. It is rare to see a single fine American wine at a French restaurant, let alone our counterparts in Australia and other fine wine producing countries.
With wine consumption continuing to rise in the United States, we can expect to see greater development of American wines. Hopefully, we will see a greater experimentation among French drinkers in the years to come.