US wine has overtaken Italian wine in poularity among UK consumers. Figures released by analyst ACNielsen show that sales of wine from the US leapt by 20% to £441m last year, while Italian varieties rose by only 1% to £344m.

It is the first time that wine sales from the US have overtaken Italy's wines.

Australian wine remained the most popular in the UK, however, with sales rising by 9% in 2003, to £834m. France lies in escond place.