Surveys of the last few years have repeatedly reported a decrease in the amount of wine consumed by those consummate wine drinkers – the French.
Latest reports show no change in the decline and it seems that these days only one in five adults in France now imbibes a glass of wine each day. If you consider that little more than 40 years ago the average annual wine consumption was 160 litres per person and is now down to almost 50 litres – that is a very big shift in the habits of a nation.
Quite why such a big change has occurred has been put down to many things – recession, increased health awareness, constant reminders to drink moderately are all mentioned. It’s the latter reason though that is looking like being the main reason for the continued drop in wine drinking as people use wine more to celebrate or relax at the weekend and less as a normal meal time supplement.
There also seems to be a generational change, those over 60 continue to treat wine as a daily norm and there is a clear cultural link for older French people. The baby boomers of the 60s and generations that came after see it much more as a social experience and drink less frequently.
As Napoleon once said “Wine is inspiring and adds greatly to the joy of living” – but not, it seems, for everyone in France these days.