Will the French Stop Drinking Wine?
Trends, statistics, and thoughts about France’s wine consumption
The French like their wine. Everyone knows that!
Well, do they still?
Tourists and visitors still enjoy touring France, and have a few glasses of wines along the way. Of course!
But wine consumption in France, by the French, has been divided by 3 over the past 50 years.
The decrease of wine consumption in France
The French now ‘only’ drink 1 small glass of wine per day
In 1975, just a few years before I was born, the country’s national average consumption was of 100 liters of wine per person and per year, including under-age children and the elderly population. That’s a bit more than a bottle of wine every three days. Needless to say a large proportion of the population back then used to drink a solid bottle of wine per day, because even in France, children have never drunk a bottle every three days!
Today, or well, in 2016, the French only drank about 42 liters of wine per year on average. That’s about 115 ml per day (4 ounces), less than a standard pour in the US (about 5 ounces for a glass of wine at the bar or a restaurant).
Because, following an opposite trend, wine consumption in the US is ever increasing, the USA overtook France as the world’s biggest wine market in 2014.
It’s a fair question to ask then, if wine consumption continues to decrease in France at that pace…
Will the French stop drinking wine?
Recent studies show that since 2010, the number of non-wine-drinkers in 2015 decreased for the first time, from 38% of non-wine-drinkers in 2010 to 33% in 2015.
But the proportion of occasional drinkers, as opposed to regular drinkers, has increased.
The French are simply becoming more reasonable about their wine consumption, like the rest of the world, and drinking better wine too!
Behaviors have switched from a daily consumption, virtually with every meal, to a more festive and celebrative one. Wine is for sharing, isn’t it?!
Why did the French wine consumption decrease?
Essentially and arguably because the French were probably drinking a little too much of it, before the 1980s, for it to be quite compatible with a modern life.
From the 1980s, government and health authorities have emphasized heavily on th fact that that an excessive consumption of alcohol, even in a wine-form, has negative impact on road safety and health.
Wine tourism: the future of wine consumption in France
France is the world’s top tourism destination with nearly 85 million international tourists arrivals in 2015 (while the US is ranked #2 with 78 million, and Spain #3 at 68M visitors per year).
There are more tourists visiting France every year, than inhabitants in the country ( France’s population is about 66 million).
And where do visitors like to stop by when touring France? Wineries…
The country counts with about 10,000 cellar doors welcoming over 10 million visitors per year, 42% of which are foreigners (led by the Belgians, British, Dutch, German, and Americans).
As a consequence, visits to cellar doors by international tourists has increased by +40% since 2009.
No, the French are not about to stop drinking wine.
As a matter of fact, the country is also producing much less wine now than a few years ago. But still, exports of French wines and spirits have reached a record-high last year in 2016 to reach staggering 11.9 billion euros.
So, what do we take away from this?
The trend is at France producing and drinking less and less wine as years go by.
But the good news is, they are getting better at sharing it, through more welcoming cellar doors, and exporting better and better wine.