The UK has topped the world wine imports tables according to the industry body Vinexpo, the French based international wine and spirits exhibition.
In their latest report imports topped 1.6bn bottles in 2007, overtaking the Germans, previously import leader by volume. The US still stands as the top wine importer by value. Both of which are major wine producers.
Wine from Australia proved to be most popular among British drinkers, ahead of imports from France and then the US.
British adults are likely to get through nearly 38 bottles a year on average, well short of the world’s most prolific wine drinkers – the French – who knock back 78 bottles each. Overall the UK still ranks only 13th in terms of world wine consumption.
Despite the increasing quantities of wine flowing into the UK, the economic downturn has had an effect.
Sales dropped by more than 3.5% in the first nine months of 2008, largely due to falling sales in pubs. And annual growth in the wine market is expected to halve to 6% by 2012, which is still a healthy figure.
Predictions are that consumption will rise slightly.
White wine will increase in popularity from an estimated 764 million bottles last year to 823 million by 2012 and rose sales are expected to rise by almost 50% to 220 million. We got through 720 million bottles of red in 2008 but this is expected to fall to 687 million by 2012.
World wine consumption is expected to rise as a whole to 33 billion bottles over the next three years.
Whisky sales down
Meanwhile our national spirit, Scotch, is continuing to lose out in the popularity stakes to the UK’s favourite spirit – vodka, the tipple of women and the young.
Vinexpo said sales of whisky dropped 11% between 2003 and 2007 and will continue falling.
In 2007, Britons bought 96 million bottles of vodka and that is predicted to rise by 20% in the next three years.