Taste for wine becoming sweeter

It may not be long before Chinese wines become everyday purchases in Europe. So believes just-drinks in a recently published report entitled The post recessionary face of the West European wine market 2013.

The report points out that whilst its wine exports are currently limited, China is, in fact, the fastest-growing wine-producing region in the world, more than doubling its production volume over the past 10 years.

According to the report, “It has taken a number of years for the country’s economic boom to provide the country’s huge population with sufficient disposable income to support a domestic market but China now ranks as the largest wine market in the world.

“Consumption here has expanded by a massive 57% over the past ten years to reach 17.8bn hectolitres in 2012. At the same time imports have grown exponentially. Through its historical connections France has built up an enviable trade position with China. It tops the wine import list. But whilst also accompanied by the likes of Italy and Spain it must compete aggressively against Australia and Chile which also feature amongst the top five suppliers.

“At the same time more and more wine producers are setting their sights on China thereby further diluting the prospects for Western Europe. Moreover, recent accusations that French, Spanish and Italian wine is being exported for sale at below the cost of production, could seriously damage relations between Bejing and Brussels and open up greater opportunities for New World wines.

“The big question is whether Chinese grape wine will prove acceptable to Western palates,” poses the report, adding, “But tastes are changing. Climate change in traditional wine-growing areas of Western Europe is leading to sweeter wines.”

The environment is in a state of permanent flux thanks to climate, economic issues, lifestyle choices, health, immigration and the media – all of which influence consumer wine choice, argues the report.

“There is now an ongoing swing in Western Europe away from domestic wines and towards products from the Americas, Australasia and South Africa,” states the report which argues that consumers have developed a sweeter tooth, probably due to the increasing amount of hidden sugar consumed.

“Research suggests that progressive generations have biologically less developed palates which predisposes them to sweeter wine, hence the popularity of New World offerings in Europe. Traditionalist wine producers who fail to recognise this and fail to adapt are potentially alienating a large segment of potential customers.”

Migration trends play a part in changing consumer tastes too as immigrants’ taste in wines can differ significantly from that of the resident population.

According to just-drinks, consumers in the Baltics, for example, enjoy New World American wines, Moroccans predominantly drink red wine while Indians and East Europeans lean towards sweeter wines.

For more information on this report goto:

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