Drinkers worldwide are spending half a trillion dollars a year on wine and spirits, boosting exports from France, Italy, Argentina and even small producers like Brazil. In India, wine consumption has increased by 170 % from 2004 to 2010.
Experts at the Vinexpo trade fair in Bordeaux, the heart of the French wine trade, said Italy had overtaken France in the volume of wine exports and flagged Argentina as a future top contender in the global market."A hundred and eighty billion US dollars — it’s an enormous number — was spent by consumers in 2009 on wine and 280 billion US dollars on spirits," said Robert Beynat, chief executive of Vinexpo. He said this made it "worth three times the aeronautics industry." The figure appears to eclipse the tens of billions in sales recorded during the same period by major aircraft makers. While France remains the leading exporter in value at eight billion euros in 2010, the Italians passed them in volume terms last year.
Italy pulled in four billion euros and saw 14 % annual growth in 2010, said Umberto Vattani, president of the Italian foreign trade commission. Brazil, a relative newcomer, is also on the rise, as its southern neighbour Argentina moves up from “New World” status to a top world player, winemakers said.
Brazil’s bottled exports grew 144 % over the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2010, according to the Brazilian Wine Institute. Britain was its top customer. “Now it’s time to build the Brazilian wine brand,” said Andreia Gentilini Milan, export manager for the Wines of Brazil. “That’s our goal, to see our wine in the best restaurants and best wine stores.” “We have to stop talking about wines from the New World. They are no longer part of the New World —Argentina, Chile, South Africa,” said Beynat.
“After 30 years, one isn’t new anymore. They are part of the Old World,” he added. “What is important is that a New World is being born — mainly China and India.” The London-based International Wine and Spirit Research group (IWSR) ranks China as the world’s seventh largest grape-based wine producer. In India, consumption grew by 170 % from 2004 to 2010, and total surface area under vines doubled between 2007 and 2010, with predicted expansion of another 56 % by 2014, according to IWSR. IWSR and merchants at Vinexpo said the United States remains to be the most lucrative retail market for wine, and will soon bypass Britain in volume. “The Americans are going to be the biggest consumers in volume by 2013-2014,” predicted Beynat.