All About Sparkling Wine Consumption in Germany

Hochschule Geisenheim University and the Association of German Sparkling Wine Producers studied Germany’s sparkling wine market. How much is consumed and when—and who’s drinking it? A report by Professor Dr Gergely Szolnoki, Christoph Kiefer and  Dr Alexander Tacer.

Reading time: 1m 45s

 

Graphic: Consumption Occasions
Graphic: Consumption Occasions

 

While there is plenty of research about still wines, sparkling wine remains something of an unknown area. Little data exists, particularly on questions like when and where sparkling wine is consumed, or about which brands play an important role in the German market.

In October 2022, Geisenheim University decided to help bridge the gap and conducted a study of 800 people.
 

The German market for sparkling wines

The market segment is not insignificant, as it is estimated at about 3m hl per year—this accounts for about 15% of the total German wine market. Globally, Germany has the highest per capita consumption.

Graphic: Consumption Frequency
Graphic: Consumption Frequency

When are sparkling wines consumed in Germany?

Special occasions are much more important for sparkling wine than for still wine. This means the segment also tends to be dominated by occasional drinkers:

  • 40% of respondents who do not drink still wine will consume sparkling wine, but two thirds of these consumers drink sparkling wine less frequently than once a month.
  • When consumption of still wine increases, so does the consumption of sparkling wine, in approximately the same proportion.

The primary motivation for buying is, not surprisingly, the flavour. This is followed by the brand/winery and the price. Which brand and therefore which type of sparkling wine is chosen depends on the occasion, and can vary considerably.

Graphic: Taste Preference
Graphic: Taste Preference
Graphic: Place of Purchase
Graphic: Place of Purchase

The most important styles are dry and semi-dry. Men and ‘frequent’ drinkers tender to prefer lower residual sugar levels, while women, older consumers and ‘infrequent drinkers’ tend to prefer a higher sugar content.

As to where they’re buying, German consumers typically buy it in food retail and discounters—this accounts for more than 80%.

 

 

Commercially available sparkling wine is the most popular choice for almost all occasions. Champagne is more popular on special occasions and is often chosen by men. Young consumers and frequent drinkers tailor their sparkling wine choice more specifically for the occasion.

Graphic: Change in Consumption
Graphic: Change in Consumption
Graphic: Alcohol-free Sparkling Wine
Graphic: Alcohol-free Sparkling Wine

Conclusions about sparkling wine consumption in Germany

Although sparkling wine and still wine belong to the same category of alcoholic beverages, a very heterogeneous picture emerges in the areas of consumption, occasion, preference, trend and purchase decision. Sparkling wine and other sparkling wines enjoy a special status and are more often associated with a special occasion.

Graphic: Target Group Profile by Gender and Age
Graphic: Target Group Profile by Gender and Age

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