Against all odds, wine consumption dropped by a significant margin last year. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed happy hour earlier in the day, new reports show that wine consumption dropped to its lowest level since 2002.
The International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) named 2020 “a year of resilience.” In a new report they reveal that the global consumption of wine dropped by 3%, about 6.2 billion gallons of it. Wine production was also slightly below average when compared to 2019.
Food & Wine reports that while COVID-19 is partly to blame for these developments, according to OIV, “The full or partial closure of the [hospitality industry] has caused a fall in sales in value, and to a lesser extent in volume, only partially compensated by the increase in wine sales via e-commerce and large retailers.”
They added that, “Premium wine suffered the most from the closure of restaurants and tasting rooms, while large producers that owned the off-premise channel with large partner wholesalers performed well.” OIV also mentions the imposition of new trade barriers, like Brexit, which have also influenced wine sales.
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Still, despite these results, predictions of wine sales were expected to be worse considering how heavily COVID-19 impacted the hospitality industry. While sales dropped in restaurants and bars, this was compensated in significant amounts by supermarkets and liquor stores.
A closer look at the results show that the U.S. was the leading buyer of wine in the world, consuming about 33 million hectoliters, continuing the trend that they’d set in past years. Sparkling wine (excluding Prosecco) experienced a sharp decline in consumption while boxed wine experienced a rise.
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Boxed wine might not be the fanciest of wines, but it is definitely a type of container capable of holding large quantities of wine for a much cheaper price. While wine sales were down in restaurants and bars, it’s clear that at home, we were still drinking a lot, perhaps more than in years past.