SEX THE MISSING FACTOR IN WINE COMSUMPTION
Sex was the one thing that seemed not to be covered in an impressive, comprehensive study of world-wide drinking conducted by VINEXPO, top wine exhibition that takes place in France every year.
In charting the rise and rise of white wine’s popularity, sex is an important factor, particularly in the UK, where increased drinking among women over the past 10 years has undoubtedly boosted sales. Women, generally, prefer white wine and whilst men too are also increasingly choosing it, the female factor must be credited with helping to boost sales of white to outstrip red over the past five years and predicted to continue to do so for the future.
White wine now accounts for 44% of all still wine drunk in the UK, while red consumption has decreased by nearly 8%.
Sparkling wines continue to fizz here, and VINEXPO predicts increased UK sales of 12% over the next four years – but significantly their figures do not break this down into champagne sparkle against other fizzes. Chief executive of the fair, Robert Beynat acknowledged, however, the inroads that prosecco, cava and others are making on this market.
And coming up fast is rosé, doubling sales over the last few years but still a rank outsider compared with the others.
Above, Bollinger has featured in many of the Bond movies, helping the hero in his seductive wiles, as above with Roger Moore. Below, the splendid whisky guru Jack Milroy lays up a store of whisky as international demand for scotch grows.
Beer consumption was not included in this report, but even allowing for that exclusion, the British are by no means the world’s most excessive drinkers, as binge drinking antics and tabloid press might suggest. The US, France, Germany and Italy are all ahead of us.
Where we score, however, is on spending more on wine than the French, and only just less than the US, as we go for higher priced, better value wines; are easily the world’s largest wine importers both in terms of volume and price; and just third in consumption of whisky and cognac.
China looms as the next great wine market place – though from reports we have received, there is a long way to go before the Chinese appreciate its finer qualities. Vodka continues its inexorable popularity as the top cocktail base, while gin continues to slide. Whatever happened to gin, once so prevalent it prompted Hogarth’s famous Gin Lane picture?
Rum and tequila are two of the newer entries in the top ten of world drinks, with bourbon showing form. But sherry, like gin once a British staple, has fallen from grace and gets nary a mention. Which is a pity, as it is a very good drink.
One final note on this otherwise impressive charting of modern drinking habits around the globe – the UK is referred to as a ‘non-wine producing country’. Whilst acknowleding that the amount produced by British vineyards is minute by comparison with the rest of the world’s producers, some of it is now of a sufficiently respectable quality to win international acclaim – and its small band of dedicated producers might be a tad put out to be so dismissed!
TAKE A DRAM TO AID THE SALMON
Water is claimed to be one of the key reasons why Scottish whisky is so superior, the soft waters of Scotland contributing much to the Water of Life. So new moves afoot to protect and conserve Scotland’s rivers, albeit mainly for the sake of the salmon, are to be welcomed.
The trustees of the Dee, Spey, Tay and Tweed rivers are working together to raise funds to protect them for anglers and tourists. And one of the top whisky names, The Dalmore, has stepped in to help swell the fund.
Whyte & Mackay, which owns The Dalmore brand, is creating four new whiskies for the four rivers. The first one, the Dalmore Dee Dram, has already contributed £35,000 to the fund and helped open up 25 miles of river and spawning ground that have been blocked for some 100 years.
Others are in the pipeline, each priced at £40, and every bottle sold donates £4 to the fund.
“This project is a fantastic way of providing a special dram to enjoy after fishing,” said John Beard, chief executive of Whyte & Mackay, “whilst also helping to protect these rivers which have been enjoyed by anglers for centuries.”
A dram will taste all the better in the knowledge that it is in aid of the salmon, trout, otters, rare birdlife and other species that depend upon these waterways.