Wine consumption is in long term decline, with drinkers expected to consume less but spend more on better wine according to new research.
While world wine consumption will rise, by 2016 sales of red, white and rose wine in the UK will fall 4.7% to 1.44 million bottles (120 million cases), according to data from International Wine and Spirit Research commissioned by wine and spirits exhibition organisers Vinexpo.
It predicts that the market will have shrunk by 10% in the ten years from 2007 and that UK consumption per person will fall from 24.3 litres of wine per person to 23 litres over the next five years. However, the average price per bottle of still wine is forecast to rise to over £6 by 2016.
The research also found that for the first time white wine will overtake red wine, accounting for nearly 45% of all still wine drunk by 2016, with red making up a 42% share. Consumption of rose, which has seen a rise of 6% in recent years, is forecast to fall 2.5% in the next five years.
Though still wine sales are falling, sparkling wine is expected to rise, with British wine drinkers predicted to consume more than 126 million bottles a year by 2018. The increase will make Britain the world's biggest importer of sparkling wine, pushing Germany, the previous leader, into third place.
Robert Beynat, chief executive of Vinexpo, said: "The data reveals how UK drinkers are changing their behaviour. They are drinking less but spending more on better wine. They fact remains that the UK is still the world's biggest importer of wine and therefore a major force in world wine business. It is the ambition of many world wine-makers to gain a foothold in the UK.
"As regards spirits, while Scotch whisky consumption will fall, sales overseas are booming and set to rise over the next five years."
Vodka is the UK's most popular spirit, though consumption of 108 million bottles is forecast to fall over the next five years by 4%. Scotch whisky is second place, though it is also forecast to fall in the UK. However, worldwide whisky consumption is expected to rise 12% by 2016.
Gin is predicted to fall 2% in the next five years from a peak of nearly 30 million bottles.
By James Stagg
E-mail your comments to James Stagg here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs