Drinking less, drinking better

Drinking less, drinking better

Wine producers around the world are keenly watching two consumer trends: people are drinking less and demanding better quality.

In fact, people have been drinking less for quite a while. Alcohol consumption in Australia is in long-term decline, having peaked in the early 1970s. While our beer consumption has steadily declined for 50 years wine consumption initially rose, peaking in about 2010, but has tapered off a little since then.

There is no secret as to what is driving the fall in alcohol consumption – it’s the increased interest in health and wellbeing.

The effects of alcohol consumption on health have provided something of a conundrum for public health authorities over the years. No one doubts the negative effects of high alcohol consumption. However, scientific studies have consistently shown that people who consume a little alcohol do better in the health stakes than people who drink none or people who have lots. This hasn’t been observed once or twice, it’s been seen in over 100 studies.

While a little alcohol appears to offer some benefit, more is definitely not better. And the pattern of consumption is important too. If you are going to drink 10 standard drinks in a week you are much better off having a glass and a half of wine with your dinner every night than saving up all 10 drinks up for a big splurge on Saturday night.

The demand for better quality is interesting. Health-conscious consumers appear not to want to waste their alcohol units on plonk, made by the tanker-load and sold cheaply in the local supermarket. They are looking for something special, authentic, distinctive and of premium quality – wines to be sipped, savoured and discussed, not chugged down by the litre. Although price is still an important factor, discerning consumers are prepared to pay a little more for a unique and interesting bottle.

In the wine industry, this trend is called ‘premiumisation’ and it’s shaping which grape varieties are being grown, the preferred clones, which wine regions are in or out of favour, viticultural practices, the volume of wine being produced and how wine is marketed. This is not just a local trend, it’s global.

At Colmar Estate we think the trend from quantity to quality is a step in the right direction for the wine industry and society in general. We have always strived for quality and hope that our wines are enjoyed as intended, in moderation, with food, in the company of friends or family, with conversation and laughter. There is a social dimension to health too.

Love good quality wine? Then head on over to our online store!