Britons now officially quaff more US wine than French, as consumers turn away from Old World classics in favour of rosé and branded wines, such as Blossom Hill.

However, the growing thirst for the New World is yet to push the US over its European counterpart in value terms.

New ACNielsen figures show British consumers are showing no signs of ending their love affair with Californian wines as volume sales of nine-litre cases from the US grew in the 12 weeks to 12 August, overtaking France.

The figures show the US moved into the number two slot behind Australia in total volume sales of its wines in the UK, recording 3.5 million cases over the period, ahead of France in third place with 3.4 million cases. Australia - the nation renowned for the most recognisable brands in wine - leads the way with 4.1 million cases.

"France is continuing to drop behind the US," said Jane Hunter, director of marketing for Western Europe at E&J Gallo. "We believe 2007 is when the US will overtake France in value as well."

Hunter said the challenges for France - primarily its lack of strong brands - still existed. "We are trying to address this with our Red Bicyclette brand, which is French wine with a New World angle."

A boost in sales of French wine at the premium end has helped the nation maintain its lead in value over the US. But in February this year The Grocer reported the gap between the two nations, in value terms, had halved in the past year.