Who drinks how much wine?

In recent decades, the pattern of global wine consumption has changed quite dramatically. A few countries still have the lion’s share, however.

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Wine consumption by country
Wine consumption by country

Changing habits are leading to changing consumption. In countries like France, a large percentage of the population has simply stopped drinking wine as a daily beverage. In its 2015 report – the most recent – France Agrimer noted that 46% of the population aged over 15 drink it at weekends, but only 29% do so during the week. In the same report, 25% of men and 39% of women declared themselves to be non wine drinkers, with only 11% and 23% respectively saying that they drink it regularly. By contrast, the percentage of frequent beer consumers rose from 12% to 18% in the five years between 2010 and 2015.

Per capita consumption 2019: The top 10
Per capita consumption 2019: The top 10

Treating wine as a beverage that is often enjoyed without food and as an alternative to beer, aperitifs and soft drinks has certainly helped to increase sales in the newer markets and slow the decline in established ones.

After a decline due to the global economic crisis in 2008, global consumption grew but has now generally hit a plateau, and in countries that previously recorded strong growth such as Scandinavia, Japan, United States and UK, it is slipping backwards, has stalled, or is showing very little growth.

One reason for this is the rising attraction of alternative drinks, including craft beers, RTDs, Hard Seltzers, and newly reinvigorated spirits such as gin and bourbon. Non alcoholic drinks are gaining market share too as younger consumers cut down on alcohol altogether.

There are hopes that India may provide more new wine drinkers if duty rates are reduced. Many observers also believe that China will return to growth, if not at the explosive rate of the beginning of the century. That market has taken a few hits in the shape of the 2013 clampdown on gifting, the 2020 Covid lockdown and the dramatic rise in the duty charged on popular Australian imports. However, the popularity of overseas travel amongst the growing Chinese middle class and the investment that has already gone into the Chinese industry are expected to be beneficial for wine.

Africa’s youthful population is also expected to offer a fruitful market, but would-be exporters will have to learn how to deal with the varied requirements of each country within that region.

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