July 9, 2009

British sales of French wine declining

Wine from France, once tops among the population of Britain, now trails wines from four other countries, sales figures show.

The Daily Telegraph said Thursday sales figures from the quarter ending in mid-June show French wines were outsold by wines from South Africa, Italy, Australia and the United States.

During that time period, 2.8 million cases of French wine were sold throughout Britain. But South African wines narrowly edged out their French counterparts with 2.9 million cases sold.

Australian wines topped the sales period with 4.7 million cases sold, while the United States and Italy also placed above France with unspecified sales.

Wine consultant Allan Cheesman told the Telegraph the decline in French wine popularity may be due to British residents basing their wine selections primarily on price.

There are 32 million people who drink wine in Britain, but 23 million drink less than three bottles a month. Most British consumers know that the cork goes in the thin end and that's it, he said.

The New World provides wines that are easy to drink, easy to sell, which trade on low price and big brands. The French have yet to master this formula.