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Red wine in glass, close-up (John Foxx/Getty Images)
Red wine in glass, close-up (John Foxx/Getty Images)

Wine, spirits consumption on the rise in Canada: study Add to ...

Homegrown producers and sellers of wine have another reason to raise a toast: a new study finds Canadians are downing more of the grape-based beverage with consumption expected to outpace the global average by 2014.

Commissioned by Vinexpo, the international wine and spirits exhibition, findings of the study released Thursday explored current trends and future projections in the international wine and spirits markets. It involved analyzing production trends in 28 countries and the evolution in consumption in 114 countries.

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Between 2005 and 2009, Canadians increased their wine consumption by more than 22.5 per cent, for a total of 40.4 million cases consumed in 2009. One case represents 12 bottles.

Red wine accounted for 60 per cent of all still light wine consumed in Canada in 2009, seeing 23 per cent growth between 2005 and 2009. But the popularity of rose is on the rise, seeing a 43.85 per cent increase to 1.391 million cases in 2009.

Consumption of spirits in Canada was up by 7.07 per cent over the period for a total 16.7 million cases, with the biggest surges seen in consumption of tequila and bourbon.

Between 2010 and 2014, consumption of still wine is expected to increase by 7.9 million cases in Canada, placing the country third after China and the U.S. for wine consumption growth over 10 years. Domestic wines are expected to see a 26 per cent increase during that period, translating into consumption of 14.6 million cases of locally produced wine.

Wine sales volumes are expected to grow in Canada by 19 per cent by 2014, compared to the expected average volume growth worldwide of 3.18 per cent.

Vinexpo chief executive Robert Beynat said Canada is a fast-growing market, but notes that the country doesn't consume as much per capita as some others.

"If you watch the per capita consumption, legal age drinking of course, you are (drinking an average of) around 12 litres per year, and 12 litres is nothing. It's less than a half-litre a week," he said in a phone interview Thursday.

"But comparing, for example, to the U.K. they are not producers and they drink 23 litres ... and they are rising."

While there had initially been concern surrounding what, if any, impact the economic crisis would have, Mr. Beynat said in the end, globally speaking, it didn't really affect consumption.

"People continued to drink - not exactly the same product - but continued to drink," he said.

Mr. Beynat said during the economic crisis, wholesalers, distributors and retailers held off on buying and finished their inventory. Now as the stocks have emptied, companies are reordering and beginning to replenish their supplies, he noted.

Vinexpo will be held June 19-23 in Bordeaux, France.

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