In November 2022, French broadcaster RTL published an article with the following alarming headline: ‘Red wine consumption has dropped by 32% in France over the past 10 years.’ Soon after, winemakers would be referring to it as la crise (the crisis).
The report offered multiple explanations: a big drop in consumption among young people; wine becoming associated more with festivities than everyday meals; people eating less red meat; the increase in single-parent households where people drink less frequently; and the discouraging slogans of public health policies.
Whatever the reasons, for Rhône Valley winemakers it’s a disturbing trend.
At a recent press conference, regional wine association Inter Rhône announced it would be putting considerable resources behind the area’s white wines, with an aim to double production by 2031. It’s a laudable aim, given that it’s primarily red wine in decline, with global demand for whites still relatively steady.