It’s difficult, if not almost impossible, to say whether this is one of the first effects of Brexit or, more simply, a decline following years of steady growth. Domestic wine consumption, or off trade if you will, has registered a slight downslide slight fall, revealed the numbers of the association of British retailers, Wine & Spirits Trade Association (www.wsta.co.uk).
In November 2016, still wines registered 2% less in volume and 1% less in value compared to the same month in 2015, for 7.3 million hectoliters and 6.1 billion euros in turnover.
The larger or smaller niches, on the contrary, have continued to grow, like Champagne at 5% increase in volume and 3% in value, for 128.000 hectoliters and 389 million euros. Other sparkling wines are also doing very well, like Prosecco and Cava that, in total, have grown 16%, for 846.000 hectoliters and 900 million euros.
Overall, the downslide is particularly noticeable for the main supplier countries, all more or less clearly, down, starting with Australia, which lost 1% in volume and 2% in value, for 1.68 million hectoliters and 1.15 billion pounds. Italy is even in worse shape as it has lost 4% in volume and 5% in value for 1.1 million hectoliters and 695 million pounds, while the US, the third largest wine trading partner of the UK, dropped 6% both in volume and in value, for 816.000 hectoliters and 591 million pounds. The only big wine country to limit the damage is France, which was the only country to grow in the last quarter of 2016, even though only 1%.
Then, there are countries that continue to grow, like Chile, touching 671.000 hectoliters (+ 3%) and 476 million pounds (+ 3%) and especially New Zealand, at 421.000 hectoliters (+ 16%) and 401 million pounds (13%) as well as Argentina, at 203.000 hectoliters (+ 32%) and 155 million pounds (+ 31%), thanks to British wine lovers’ great passion for two symbol varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Malbec from Argentina. To complete the picture, the collapse of Spain, which in 12 months has lost 10% in volume and 7% in value, for 672.000 hectoliters and 459 million pounds, and Germany, down 11% in volume and 12% in value, for 109.000 hectoliters and 66 million pounds.