BRUSSELS: In France the Beaujolais Nouveau is coming Thursday, November 19 in a particular context due to confinement. Producers are concerned that sales will be down during this particular time. What about the consumption of wine abroad? Direction Australia, United Kingdom and Canada.
Increased sales in Australia
Along with the raid on toilet paper and pasta, Australians also stocked very large quantities of wine in March and April, for fear that the authorities would decide to close the “bottle shops”. In Australia, you can’t buy alcohol at the supermarket, you have to go to specialty stores. This pandemic also had serious consequences on the economy and put many people out of work. Sales of grands crus and wines that cost more than 30 euros per bottle have rather declined. However, cheap wines have been taken by storm. For some categories, sales have even increased by more than 30% compared to the same period last year.
The “goon” the Australian version of wine in a cubicle is particularly popular despite a bad reputation. This “goon” invented by a winegrower in the 1960s, the Australians sometimes call it Château Carton. During the confinement, the cardboard castle … was a hit! Sales have increased by over 20%. The reason for this success is not only due to the fact that it is wine which is really cheap. It is also because in cubi, the wine keeps much longer than in bottle, up to 4 weeks after opening if it is kept in the fridge. This is handy when you are alone at home and want to have a drink or two while eating but not to empty a whole bottle.
Less alcohol consumed but more wine bought in the UK
It seems that deprived of beer at the pub, the British have fallen back on wine at home. During each lockdown, bottle sales have increased by around 25% from the previous year. Up to + 39% for the rosé last spring. However, we must put it into perspective, just because they bought more wine at the supermarket does not mean that the British drank more alcohol. The bars are closed, their total consumption has halved and sales of beers and non-alcoholic cocktails have also increased by 30% over the same period. The wine consumed in Great Britain comes mainly from France. The country is the second largest importer of French wine after the United States. However, the confinement has led to a real revival of interest in local production: Waitrose supermarkets have seen their sales of English wine climb by 40%.
With global warming, the south-east of England looks like the Champagne-Ardenne region of some thirty years ago. The number of vineyards has quadrupled since 2000 and they produced more than 10 million bottles in 2019. This is still a far cry from the 4 billion liters produced in France. Some hope that Brexit will boost national production as the quality of the latter improves. In the top 50 of the prestigious Decanter Prize this year we find a Chardonnay from Kent and a sparkling wine from Sussex. Queen Elizabeth herself has had her own vineyard planted a stone’s throw from Windsor Castle.
Quebecers look to local vineyards
In Quebec, alcohol consumption is on the rise. This was the case during the first confinement, and the same trend seems to be emerging since early October. Most of the population must indeed avoid contact and stay at home for six weeks now. In the absence of being able to frequent the bars, now closed, Quebecers are turning to local vineyards. Never have producers of wine made in Quebec sold so many bottles to local customers. To the point that some have literally had their cellars emptied. In addition, the fall was very beautiful, making the visit to the vineyard very bucolic during the harvest time. The 2020 cuvée promises to be excellent after a summer when the sun dominated. The enthusiasm of Quebecers for the local vine product is part of a real wave of love for local products, a significant phenomenon since the start of the pandemic. That said, Quebecers are not chauvinistic when it comes to alcohol.