In 1980 more than half of French adults were consuming wine almost daily. Today, fewer than 17% of them are doing so. Historically, the French have grown up with wine on the table at every meal but this is changing. Social commentators say that there’s been a cultural shift in France towards how they view wine.
For Frenchmen in their 60’s and 70’s wine remains an essential part of their cultural heritage…and it is served daily with lunch and dinner. Those in their 40’s and 50’s seem to think of wine as an occasional indulgence. While they drink less, they do spend more per bottle. Most 20-somethings don’t start even taking an interest in wine until their mid-to-late 20’s. For them, wine is simply a product that competes for their Euros…and may not be worth the lofty prices in comparison to the increasingly popular beers and mixed drinks. Add this to the changing demographics of the Muslim community in France. Nearly 10% of France is now non-drinking Muslim.
But, France is not the only country in Europe with declining populations of wine drinkers and cultural changes related to the role of wine in daily living. Italy and Spain are following a similar pattern to France. While this may have significant effects on these country’s cultures and foodways, their wine industries probably won’t be effected. China’s exploding population of wine drinkers is expected to buy all of the excess European wine.