The alcohol content of wine is the major priority of wine drinkers across three continents, new research shows.
In research commissioned by German wine trade fair Prowein, analysts Wine Intelligence canvassed 1000 regular wine drinkers in the US, China, Germany and the UK.
Significant minorities in each country said their ideal wine would have less than 12% alcohol.
In China this was most noticeable, with 91% of drinkers saying their desired level would be 8.5-10.5% by volume.
In Britain, 22% said their ideal wine was 10.5% or less, with similar numbers in Germany and the US saying the same.
The preference for lower alcohol is most marked in the younger generation. In China the survey found that women, and those aged 18-39, were more likely to say their preferred level of alcohol was 5.5-8%
A similar demographic was found in Britain, with 27% of the 18-39 age group saying their preferred strength was 10.5% or less.
When it comes to the importance of ethical wines, drinkers’ views diverge. In the UK and the US around a third said it was important when choosing a wine that it was ‘organic, sustainable or Fairtrade’, a figure that rose to 67% in Germany and 86% in China.
Across the world, grape variety is cited as the most important factor when buying wine. More than 80% of respondents in the UK, China and Germany – and 93% in the US – said grape variety influenced the buying decision
A quarter of respondents in the UK said Merlot and Pinot Grigio were their favourite grape varieties, drinkers in the US and China name Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay as favourites, while the Germans prefer Dornfelder and Riesling.
Prowein, the International Wine and Spirits Trade Fair, takes place in Dusseldorf from 4-6 March 2012.
Written by Adam Lechmere