Mon dieu! Just one in five French quaff a glass of wine per day as fizzy drinks and fruit juice push it off the table
Study by French Ministry of Agriculture reveals major fall in consumptionAverage French person now consumes equivalent of a glass per dayHealth concerns and economic worries blamed for fall in popularity



00:37 GMT, 30 November 2012

There are many foods that you might think of as quintessentially French: baguettes, snails, a slice or two of fromage, garlic, onions and of course frogs’ legs.

But when it comes to choosing drinks that sum up the Gallic experience, there is only one contender: a large glass of vino.

But in reality, the French are falling out of love with their most famous tipple, official figures show.

Consumption levels of wine in France are at their lowest ever levels, according to research by the French Ministry of Agriculture

Popularity plunge: Consumption levels of wine in France are at their lowest ever levels, according to research by the French Ministry of Agriculture

Fewer than one in five French adults – 17 per cent – now drink a glass of wine every day, the statistics from France’s ministry of agriculture reveal.

Caroline Plot, the official who oversaw the research, said the trend owed much to increasing awareness of the perceived health dangers associated with regular consumption of alcohol – particularly liver disease – along with the nation’s economic troubles.

‘There has also been a real shift in consumption habits: fizzy drinks and fruit juices are taking the place of wine on the French table,’ she added.

Stricter drink-driving laws have also put many off having a few glasses of wine after work, as would have been normal in the past.

In 1980, wine would be served at, on average, one meal in two. /11/29/article-2240336-1645FB6B000005DC-421_634x705.jpg” width=”634″ height=”705″ alt=”Wine Consumption graph.jpg” class=”blkBorder” />

Wine Consumption graph.jpg

But French consumption of wine still
outstrips that of their British counterparts, who drink 28 litres per
person each year, roughly equivalent to three glasses a week.

Study co-author Philippe Janvier said:
‘Alcohol in general and wine in particular have become a weekend thing,
to be consumed in a convivial or celebratory setting.’

France is the world’s second largest
wine producer, with only Italy ahead, and produces between 7billion and
8billion bottles a year.

The French are traditionally the
biggest consumers of their own wines but the downward consumer trend has
left wine producers relying increasingly on foreign markets.

However, demand for wine has also been falling in many of those other markets.

The result has been a wine glut, often
called the wine lake, which has led to the distillation of wine into
industrial alcohol as well as a government programme to pay French
farmers to pull up their grape vines.

The market for champagne as well as
the demand for the expensive ranked or classified wines has been
relatively unscathed by the drinking downturn but these constitute only
about 5 per cent of French production.