Wine sales: drinking up

Nine million cases were sold last year, equalling the highest on record

 

We like a glass of wine, or two, or maybe more, to judge by the Irish Wine Association’s (IWA) report for last year. Wine sales grew to nine million cases, equalling the highest on record. This upward trend has continued since 2013, when wine sales in Ireland hit a post-crash low of 8.2 million cases.

Though health professionals might frown, wine consumption is often seen as a signifier of the strength of an economy as well as a mark of a society’s sophistication. For instance, as China has grown ever more wealthy its thirst for wine has grown in tandem. In our own modest way Ireland is no different. As wealth grows again some have more money to spend on status buys. And wine, as it has been down the centuries, is very conscious of status.

Increased consumption is also indicative of cultural change, such as the continuing decline of the pub. Ten years ago beer dominated alcohol sales, with 51 per cent of the market compared to 21 per cent for wine. Last year the respective figures were 46 per cent and 28 per cent.

We still buy most wine from the so-called New World, with Chile (25.6 per cent) and Australia (17.7 per cent) heading the IWA list. Vintage producers France (12.9 per cent), Spain (12.3 per cent) and Italy (9.7 per cent) are next. White wine is favoured over red.

But that is where the good news ends, says the IWA. The association, made up of leading importers and distributors, warns that Ireland’s excise duty on wine is the highest in the EU, “64 per cent more expensive than Finland, the second most expensive country”. Since 2012, the Government has increased excise on wine by 62 per cent. Arguing for a lower rate in the forthcoming Budget to alleviate the impact of Brexit, weaker sterling and cross-border shopping, the association states that an “excise decrease will not only benefit consumers but it will protect and create jobs in the tourism, retail and hospitality trade”. The argument has merit, though it must be set against well ventilated arguments about the dangers of cheaper alcohol.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.