ln 2015 France lost its status as the world’s top wine producer to Italy, according to the International organisation of Vine and Wine (Organisation Internationale de la vine et du vin), a sign of changing habits and increasing global competition.
The last few years have been a rocky road for the French wine industry.
Despite France’s reputation for producing the world’s best wine, the country has lost out to both Italy and Spain in exports for the last eight years.
France lost out to Italy in 2011 in terms of production, then got back to top place in 2014. But in 2015 Italy fought back, producing 49 million hectolitres to France’s 47 million.
Changing domestic drinking habits can explain the drop in overall production in France.
According to daily newspaper Le Parisien, the French got through an average of 100 litres of wine per person in 1960. That figure had fallen to 42 litres in 2015.
Meanwhile, the amount of wine imbibed across the planet has actually gone up. Since 2000, global consumption has increased by 6%, according to French export credit assurer Coface, which predicts that China will become the world’s top consumer of wine by 2027.
As global consumption grows, France may need to re-think its export tariffs if it is to regain some of its lost prestige, according to Nicolas Ozanam of the French Federation for Wine and Spirits exporters.
“More than 80 percent of exported French wines are sold abroad for more than five euros per litre,” he told daily newspaper Le Parisien, which pointed out that Italian wines sell abroad for half that price, while Spanish wine sells for a mere 1.16 euros a litre.