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UK remains sixth biggest wine drinking country in world despite falling sales says Vinexpo

Published:  28 January, 2014

The UK remains the sixth biggest wine consuming country in the world despite another year of falling wine sales, according to the latest figures released by Vinexpo, but there are signs drinking levels could be on the up again from 2015.

The United States remains the number one wine consuming country followed by France and Italy with China now up in to fifth position ahead of the UK.

Figures compiled for Vinexpo by IWSR show that UK consumption of still and sparkling wine fee to 1.6 billion or 134.56 million 9-litre cases in 2012. This compares to 138.5 million cases in 2011. IWSR predicts that the 2013 figures will also show a further decline to 132.7 million cases.

But there are signs that consumption levels are levelling out and could actually start to "rebuild" from 2015. IWSR and Vinexpo predict that by 2017 consumption could be back up to 136 million cases of still and sparkling wines.

White wine is now firmly established as the preferred drink of the UK consumer. In 2013 consumption of white wine reached 53.3m 9-litre cases compared to 55.2m cases of red. This ratio of white to red is expected to be the same for the next four years.

The continued demand and interest in more premium wines will continue in the UK as the health message of drinking less but better continues to hit home. Consumption of bottles of wine above £6.07 is forecast to increase by 19% over the next four years. All the higher price points are in growth said IWSR/Vinexpo.

The top three suppliers of wine to the UK remain Australia, France and Italy and this will remain the case again for the next four years, says the study.

Sparkling wines are very much in vogue with consumption up 3% since 2011 and will grow by 11.5% between 2013 and 2017 and reach 10.6m 9-litre cases.

In 2012 Spain became the leading UK supplier of sparkling wines followed by France and Italy.

Spirits: UK consumption

By contrast spirits consumption in the UK reached 30.4m 9-litre cases up 3.9% on 2008 figures. Consumption , however, is expected to  be flat for the next four years.

Vodka was the biggest mover up  6% between 2008 and 2012 to 9.18m 9-litre cases in 2012.

Bourbon is also doing particularly well in dark spirits and whilst it only has a 4% market share (2011 figures) it increased consumption levels by 15% between 2008 and 2011.