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Global wine consumption dip in 2020

Global wine consumption in the pandemic year reached the lowest recorded level of consumption since 2002, and China is the key driver for the downward trend, says OIV.

Global wine consumption in the pandemic year dipped by 3% to 234 mhl, reaching the lowest recorded level of consumption since 2002, according to OIV.

Wine consumption in China, the sixth biggest wine consumer in the world, plunged by 17%, leading OIV to conclude that the country is “the key driver in lowering consumption levels in the last few years.”

Explaining on the drop, OIV says the full or partial closure of the Horeca channel has caused a fall in sales in value, and to a lesser extent in volume, only partially compensated by the increase in wine sales via e-commerce and large retailers.

During 2020, premium wine suffered the most from the closure of restaurants and tasting rooms, while large producers that owned the off-premise channel with large partner wholesalers performed well.

wine consumption
Man quarantining at home with toilet paper and alcohol. (pic: iStock)

Sparkling wine is the category of wines that suffered the most (champagne shipments -18% in volume, 1 billion euros of losses), with the exception of Prosecco (+4% in export vol, -3% in export value). Contrarily, bag-in-box wine sales have experienced a sharp increase in sales volume and value in US, UK, Japan and Scandinavian countries.

In terms of wine production, global wine production, excluding juices and musts, in 2020 is estimated at 260 mhl (+1% / 2019), a level slightly below average for the second consecutive year. Argentina and China saw the sharpest drop in production last year (-17% and -16%) respectively.

Looking ahead, OIV warns that uncertainties in the market still loom such as China’s punitive tariffs on Australian wine, post-Brexit wine trade in the UK and US tariff on EU wines.

OIV Director General reminded that for wine producers there has been and will continue to be a need to adapt to the diversification of markets and distribution channels. The Director General stressed that this situation added difficulties to an already complex system, and only those who incorporate continuous adaptive behaviour will stand up.

“The sector is highly concentrated, and therefore risky. This shows us that diversification is necessary, starting with consumption”, said. Among other objectives, the OIV is working to make wine a more universal consumer product. “Asia, as a growing consumer continent, is one of the main challenges for the wine world”, considered Pau Roca.

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