One of the unforeseen consequences of the pandemic and the closure of bars and restaurants for many months is that wine consumption has experienced a meteoric rise.
Every year, consumers’ level of knowledge about wine and their thirst for knowledge progress. They are increasingly attracted to events like open days at wineries, wine tastings, exhibitions and wine-focused trips, for example. For the past eighteen months though, these have been out of bounds, hence the strong surge in at-home consumption. With wine merchants and supermarkets allowed to stay open, they have reaped significant benefits from this unprecedented situation, as have online sales.
One aspect that has not changed is the buying criteria of consumers, who are increasingly picky. A wine’s provenance (producer region or country) and its price are still the two main cues for nearly one in two consumers, with the grape variety and/or appellation a driver for one in four people. Unsurprisingly, a majority of French consumers still have a soft spot for the vineyards of Bordeaux (48%), although another important aspect is organic winegrowing, now piquing the interest of two-thirds of wine buyers who spend time checking whether the bottle of their choice sports the AB logo. The strongest interest is shown by younger consumers (under 25s) and connoisseurs, whose motivations include respect for the environment, the quality of the wine and health reasons. Interestingly, this specific audience is prepared to pay more for an organically certified wine.
Lastly, one format in particular has clearly gained traction since 2020, and that is boxed wine. It has become the epitome of relaxed, festive and informal occasions for sharing with friends over a barbecue. As such, it appeals to consumers across all demographics and categories.
The pandemic has clearly changed French consumer habits in a number of areas, but it has at least failed to curb their desire for wine, providing irrefutable proof that conviviality – of which wine is the ultimate symbol – remains one of the key values of our culture.
Sources: SoWine Barometer and Nielsen
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