Despite their reputations as devoted wine drinkers, the French and Italians continue to consume less and less, while Americans, Australians and the Brits have been gaining ground, according to new research.
Worldwide, per-capita wine consumption has fallen to a new low, down to a mere 3.6 liters per person last year, as reported in the recently released 2004 edition of The Global Drinks Market: Impact Databank Review and Forecast. That figure, a 1 percent decrease from 2003, is the lowest level since tracking of the data began in 1975.
Much of the decline can be pinned on the French and Italians. They do still consume considerably more wine on average than people of other nationalities, at 54 liters and 49 liters per person in 2004, respectively, according to the 700-page report. However, as recently as 1990, per-capita consumption amounted to 73 liters per person in France and 62 liters in Italy.
And while France and Italy together accounted for a 26 percent share of global wine consumption by volume last year, the two countries have seen a combined decline of 581 million cases since 1975. That has only been partially offset by consumption growth in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, which have gained a total of 235 million cases.
By the end of the decade, the United States is expected to surpass second-ranked Italy in wine consumption by volume, according to Impact Databank, which is owned by M. Shanken Communications, the parent company of Wine Spectator. Because of its much bigger population, the United States still lags far behind in per-capita consumption, at only 8 liters per person in 2004.
In addition to the United States, other major wine-consuming countries are expected to see volume and per-capita gains over the next five years, though not enough to offset the declines in France and Italy that are expected for the foreseeable future. In Australia, consumption reached an all-time high of 21.7 liters per person in 2004; the United Kingdom is expected to reach 20 liters of per-capita wine consumption this year.
Nonetheless, globally, per-capita consumption is projected to fall even further--to 3.4 liters per person by 2010, compared with 3.9 liters in 1995.
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