“Although wine still has a special place in the hearts of the French (55%), in 2023 it is neck and neck with beer (56%) as the nation’s favourite alcoholic drink”, commented Sowine partner Arnaud Daffy at the presentation of the 12th SOWINE/DYNATA 2023 Barometer* during a video conference on Linkedin on 27 March 2023. However, “it is still the favourite drink of women”. More broadly speaking, though, what are the French preferences when it comes to colours, grape varieties and wine regions? What are their drinking occasions? Do the French drink foreign wines? And what is the importance of environmental endorsements? We decipher some of the major drinking trends of the French.
- Which colour of wine is favoured by the French? What are their drinking occasions?
- Which grape varieties and wine regions rank first among the French?
- Do the French drink foreign wines?
- How important are environmental endorsements?
- What are the other major trends?
Which colour of wine is favoured by the French? What are their drinking occasions?
The findings of the SOWINE/DYNATA Barometer show that white wine leads the way this year once again as the French’s favourite wine colour, quoted by 93% of consumers (versus 91% in 2022). It is followed by rosé (88%, down 1 point on 2022) and red wine with 83%.
Fifty-eight percent of the French choose to drink wine with their families (irrespective of the colour of the wine, up 3 points on 2022), with a preference for red wine (66%). For 58% of respondents, mealtimes continue to be the favourite occasion for drinking wine (irrespective of colour), followed by the aperitif, which is more popular for whites and rosés, and then evenings out.
The second most popular drinking occasion is among friends, though at 32% this has dropped 2 points on 2022, across the colour spectrum.
Which grape varieties and wine regions rank first among the French?
From a list of randomly presented grape varieties, respondents answered the question “Which grape variety(ies) do you prefer when choosing a wine?”, by stating Chardonnay for 40%, Merlot (27%) and the same percentage for Pinot noir, whilst 24% said Cabernet-Sauvignon, 19% Riesling and 16% Sauvignon blanc.
Among wine connoisseurs/experts, 29% opted for Syrah compared with 8% among newbies and 12% among enlightened enthusiasts.
Sowine/Dynata data also threw up similarities for the top three favourite wine regions chosen by the French. Mirroring 2022 results, the study showed that Bordeaux ranked first, followed by Burgundy and Champagne. The choice of Bordeaux as a favourite region was unanimous, irrespective of the level of knowledge – it ranked first among connoisseurs/experts (57%), enlightened enthusiasts (50%) and newbies (39%).
Do the French drink foreign wines?
The SOWINE/DYNATA Barometer reveals that 7 in 10 French people drink foreign wines. Among them, although 29% are increasingly turning to New World wines with Chile (7%), South Africa (5%) and Argentina (5%) ranking as the top three countries, 71% of those who drink foreign wines tend to opt for European wines. Italy leads the way (28%), ahead of Spain (21%).
In terms of motivations, 43% say they want to “try new things” and a similar percentage likes “their flavour”. Also, 17% said they wanted to “extend their holiday experience”.
What is the importance of environmental endorsements?
At point of purchase, 55% of the French spend time seeing whether a bottle of wine displays an environmental certification (up 2 points on 2022). This upward trend is very noticeable among 18-25-year-olds at 67% (up 9 points on 2022) and 26-35-year-olds (up 2 points on 2022).
The primary motivations among the French for choosing a wine sporting an environmental endorsement are to guarantee quality (48%), treat the environment with respect (44%) and guarantee the origin of the wine and its production cycle (37%).
What are the other major trends?
No-lows continue to trend positively, as does the ‘less but better’ trend. From a digital perspective, the barometer claims that “Tiktok is the most engaging platform in 2023 in the wine and spirits industry”. Thirty-two percent of its users follow estates, chateaux, brands or wine producers, ahead of Instagram with 27% of its users, down 5 points on 2022.
Anne Schoendoerffer, © Ilshat/Adobestock
Sources : www.sowine.com
*This study was conducted in December 2022 from a sample of 1,034 French people living in mainland France aged between 18 and 65, found to be representative using the quota method based on sex, age and geographical area of residence.