Regular wine drinkers in France are becoming less and less common as the years go on, a new report has found.

Over the last 40 years total wine consumption has dropped by 25%, from 46m hectolitres to 34.3m in 2001. The situation will not improve in 2004, with household wine purchases likely to drop by 0.2%.

Health concerns, tougher drink driving laws and increased competition from other products are all responsible, the report from French market analysts Xerfi says.

The report says the French are drinking more and more soft drinks and fruit juices. Growth in the non-alcoholic drinks sector is expected to be the fastest for 12 years, as consumers opt for products which are low in sugar or with added vitamins and minerals.

Written by Adam Lechmere, and agencies