Americans to outsip French wine drinkers
PARIS, Jan 27 (AFP) - By 2008 France will no longer be the biggest wine-consuming nation and the French individually no longer the biggest drinkers, a study estimated on Thursday.
The United States is likely to be the country with the highest consumption in 2008, followed by Italy and then France, the study by British consultants ISWR/DGR said.
The report was prepared for a wine fair, Vinexpo, in Bordeaux in the heart of one of the main French vineyard regions. The French industry is alarmed at accumulating difficulties.
These range from strong penetration into its markets, even in France, of wines attractively and conveniently packed from relative newcomers to the European mass market, such as Australian producers, to improving production in eastern Europe, and tightened drink-drive laws to cut high death rates on French roads.
But the trend of falling consumption has been evident in France for decades, partly because people are increasingly careful about their health and tend to drink smaller quantities of wine of improved quality.
The study estimated that wine consumption in the United States would grow by 28.6 percent from the 2003 figure to 27.66 million hectolitres in 2008.
This would be slightly more than the figure in Italy where consumption would have risen by 2.4 percent to 27.24 million hectolitres.
In France, however, the amount of wine drunk would fall by 7.4 percent, taking the land of the vine from top spot to third position.
The study said that of the 10 biggest wine-consuming countries, apart from France, Spain would see a decline of 10.2 percent, Portugal 9.1 percent and Argentina 4.7 percent. But consumption in Germany would rise by 28.6 percent, in Britain by 15.7 percent and South Africa by 21.1 percent.
The United States, Britain and Germany would account for nearly three-quarters of a 6.4 percent growth of world consumption by 2008.
In 2008 these three countries would account for 38.7 percent of world consumption of still wines from 25.4 percent in 2003. This amounted to an increase of nearly 9.0 million hectolitres.
France would also lose its place as the country with the highest per-capita consumption of wine.
In 2008, on average each Italian aged more than 18 would drink 60.2 litres per year compared with 58.0 litres drunk by each person in France in the same age category, the report estimated. This implied a fall of 9.7 percent in the French per capita figure.
The study calculated that the value of wine sold throughout the world each year was USD 100 billion (EUR 77 billion), equivalent to the value of the market for cosmetics. But this was less than the value of spirits sold, put at USD 150 billion (EUR 115 million) of which 60 percent was accounted for in Asia.
Subject: French News