The report, out today, shows that 2020 saw a five-point increase in wine’s market share to 32.2%, mostly at the expense of beer which lost share from 44.9% in 2019 to 38.9% in 2020.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw changing purchasing trends with overall alcohol sales falling by 6.6% last year. Beer and cider sales were hit significantly as those products are typically consumed in the hospitality sector.
Generally, about 80% of wine purchased in Ireland is in the retail sector. But due to the rolling Lockdowns affecting only the hospitality sector, an estimated 95% of wine sales were from the retail sector last year.
Overall, wine sales in 2020 rose by 12% to over 10 million cases.
According to industry estimates, the popularity of rosé continues to grow, having had an estimated 7% share of the wine market last year, double its 2016 share. White wine is Ireland’s favourite, with a 48% share followed by red wine at 45%.
The report estimates that one in four bottles of wine sold in Ireland is from Chile.
While Chilean wine remains the nation’s favourite for the seventh year in a row with a market share of 25.8% (down 1.7%), Spanish wine continues to grow in popularity with a 15.4% share of the total wine market in 2020, just ahead of Australia’s 13.8%.
French and Italian wines are the fourth- and fifth-most popular wines respectively.
The excise rate on wine sold in Ireland remains the highest in Europe. Irish consumers pay €3.19 per standard bottle at 13% ABV. Of the 27 EU Member States 15 don’t charge any duty on wine. Furthermore, sparkling wine gets an additional excise hit totalling €6.37 on a standard bottle.
In 2020 the sector paid €425 million on excise to the Exchequer, up €47 million from the previous year. Over the past decade wine has generated over €3.4 billion for the exchequer in excise alone.
“2020 was an exceptional year for the Irish wine market primarily due to the Lockdowns that the hospitality sector endured last year,” said Head of Wine at Drinks Ireland and the report’s author Jonathan McDade, ” It’s unlikely that the sales figures of 2020 would be replicated in a post Covid-19 world.
“As a result of Covid-19, which resulted in Lockdowns and the closure of the hospitality sector, Irish consumer drinking habits changed for a period. As beer and cider are mostly consumed in the on-trade, sales fell across both categories while wine sales in the off-trade rose.”
Overall ‘though, alcohol consumption declined, he pointed out.
“Consumers in Ireland continue to pay punitive rates of excise on wine compared with other EU countries and Drinks Ireland|Wine is calling for the government to reduce the excise rate on wine in Budget 2022,” he said.