A DIP in WORLD WINE CONSUMPTION
It appears as if the world has taken to sipping its wine as opposed to gulping it . . . well the world with the exception of the US. Wine drinkers in France, Italy and across Europe uncorked fewer bottles last year as the global economy slowed dramatically, leaving the United States as the world’s largest consumer, an industry group reported. After years of non-stop growth, global wine consumption contracted by .8 percent last year, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine’s first estimate. That is the first drop since records began in 2OO4. Falling wine consumption in Europe offset growth in other countries, such as the US, which for the first time surpassed Italy in terms of total consumption, the organization said in its annual report on the market.
In another shift in the industry, European vineyards accounted for less than half of the world’s grape production for the first time. World wine consumption last year fell to 243 million hectoliters (6.4 billion gallons), down from 245 million hectoliters in 2OO7. Consumption fell in all of Europe’s major wine-producing and consuming countries, including France, Italy and Germany, Europe’s biggest wine-drinking nations. This was partly offset by the rising demand in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. New World wines from countries such as Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the US – saw their share of global wine exports rise to nearly 3O percent last year, up from an average of 23.3 percent between 2OO1 and 2OO5. Italy remains the world’s largest wine exporter measured by volume, although France keeps the title of biggest wine exporter in terms of value.