As a result, wine’s share of the overall alcohol category fell by 2.9 percentage points from 32.2% in 2020 to 29.3% in 2021. Spirits was the only category to grow share, gaining 2.4 percentage points to secure 24.7% of the total beverage alcohol market, up from 22.3%. The report shows that wine is the nation’s second most popular drink after beer.
However, there was considerable movement in the retail channel pattern as the on-trade came back into the equation strongly following re-opening from Lockdown. The report details how wine sales increased from 9 million cases to 10.1 million during the 2020 Lockdowns despite overall alcohol consumption declining during this time. But the reopening of the on-trade sector later last year saw off-sales of wine fall.
On-trade wine sales grew share of the wine market from 5% in 2020 to 15% in 2021 to the detriment of the off-trade.
There was no change in the consumption breakdown between white (47%), red (45%) and rose (7%) last year but per adult wine consumption fell 14% from 3.26 litres to 2.8 litres. Rosé has become increasingly popular in Ireland in recent years particularly during Summer months, notes the report.
“While its market share remained static in 2021, it has grown from 3% in 2016 to 7% in 2021.
“Elsewhere, the market share of sparkling wine was marginally down from 2.3% in 2020 to 2.0% in 2021.”
Chile still tops
Chile remained the top country of origin for wine here although at 2.13 million cases its share of the overall wine market dropped 1.5 percentage points to 24.3% in 2021.
Remaining in a distant second place, Spain’s wine market share of 15.3% also saw a slight decline to 1.34 million cases. Australia remained in third place with under 1.2 million cases, down 0.5 percentage points to a 13.3% share.
France, in fourth place, saw its market share improve by 0.7 percentage points to 12.7% of the wine market from 12.0% in 2020 although the actual case number fell from 1.2 million to 1.1 million.
“This was primarily due to French wine being easier to export to Ireland compared to the logistical challenges that face wine in other markets,” states the report.
The only other country to grow its market share was Argentina which increased its share by 0.4 percentage points to 411,605 cases (still down from 2020’s 433,692 case figure).
Italy’s market share remained unchanged at 10% although case numbers fell from a million case figure to 875,755 cases.
Overall, Europe was responsible for nearly 3.8 million cases of wine sold here giving it a 43.3% share of the wine market while ‘the rest of the world’ was responsible for the majority of wine imports in 2021 at just under 5 million cases.
Excise receipts for wine also showed a decline in 2021, falling from €425 million to €385 million in tandem with a growth in receipts for spirits from €374m to €389m. Thus, wine’s contribution to the overall Revenue take for 2021 fell from 35.3% in 2020 to 32.7% in 2021 as overall excise revenue on alcohol fell from just over €1.2 billion to under €1.18 billion.
But despite there being no recent Budget changes on wine, Ireland continues to top the European and UK excise bill at €3.19 per 75cl bottle and a “double tax” of €6.37 per bottle of sparkling wine before VAT.
With 54% of a standard bottle of wine going to tax, Drinks Ireland|Wine has called for excise to be cut.
“Today’s report illustrates some interesting trends among Irish wine consumers last year as the country emerged from Covid restrictions,” commented Jonathan McDade, Director of Wine at Drinks Ireland, “While sales held steady for the first quarter of the year, there were significant falls in sales for the rest of 2021.
“We’re calling for a 15% decrease on excise on wine over the next two budgets. As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, Irish consumers face the highest excise on wine in the EU.
“This disproportionate high level of tax must urgently be addressed at this challenging time.“