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Despite reports of Canadians pandemic shopping – stocking up on their favourite reds and whites, and embracing large bag-in-the-boxes formats like never before – wine consumption in this country reportedly dropped by 6 per cent in volume last year. That decline is part of a worldwide decrease of 3 per cent, which is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges faced by the global wine market.
These findings were released last week in the annual report of the Paris-based International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), which represents the principal wine-producing countries in Europe. The statement declares worldwide consumption has dropped for the third year in a row to 234 million hectolitres, equivalent to 23.4 billion litres, its lowest recorded level since 2002.
Meanwhile, winemakers around the world are estimated to have produced 260 million hectolitres in 2020, a level slightly below average for the second consecutive year. The average global wine production over the last 10 years is 270 million hectolitres.
OIV director-general Pau Roca cited the possible impact of COVID-19 and the closure of the hospitality industry around the world and said the decline was comparable to that seen following the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Other factors include a shift to premiumization in parts of Europe where consumers are opting to drink less, but better-quality wine as well as various trade wars, such as the United States’ retaliatory ban on European imports.
The United States continues to rank as the world’s largest wine consuming country. Its annual consumption held steady at 33 million hectolitres in 2020, while, for the third year in a row, China continues to see declining interesting in wine, with a sharp drop of 17 per cent in volume last year. Consumption was also down 6.8 per cent in Spain.
While reporting the total value of global wine exports was down 6.7 per cent, the most significant drop since 2009, Roca suggests that wine producers need to adapt to the diversification of markets and distribution channels. He said only those who incorporate continuous adaptive behaviour will stand up.
Forecasts suggest it will be 2024 before still wine consumption returns to pre-COVID levels, while sparkling wine is believed to be back in high spirits by 2023, which offers optimism to producers and consumers of good times to come.