Researchers fear that the French are less aware of its cultural significance to their country with younger generations less likely to enjoy a wine bottle over food. Despite the wine makers promoting it as a food product and advising to drink wine with food, it is increasingly being drunk for pleasure, like in India.
Only about 16.5 per cent of the French population are now regular wine drinkers, according to research from the ESC Pau research centre and Toulouse Capitole University and as reported in Telegraph. Besides, it has become an occasional drink rather than a frequent drink often during the evenings out. This has occurred within the last two generations, according to researchers Pascal Poutet and Thierry Lorey.
In a study in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, the pair looked at successive generations and their approach to wine drinking, dividing the demographic into four groups. The oldest was those over 65 years who had lived through the Second World War, followed by those between 40 and 65 who lived through a period of growth and worldwide development. The Generation X was 30-40 years old who grew up through the French crisis of the 1990s. The internet generation- under 30 was the last category.
While all agreed on the value and bon homie of drinking wine, it was the over 65s who linked it with French heritage the most and were more likely to drink it daily and share the experience. The middle groups are much more occasional drinkers and drink more socially with friends rather than family, and social status is a factor in their wine consumption. For those younger than thirty, wine consumption is more an exception than the rule.
The younger generations may still take pride in French wine but have little awareness of its cultural place in French history.
According to the World Statistics released last Monday by Federico Castellucci, Director General of OIV in Porto, on World Statistics on wine consumption and published by delWine, 35 million hL or equivalent of 4.7 billion bottles were uncorked in France in 2002. The consumption was fairly steady in 2010 at slightly over 29 million hL or 3.9 billion bottles representing a fall of 17% during the last 8 years.
It also confirms the outcome of the OIV Report that the per capital consumption in France although falling marginally, is still quite high at around 49 L a year.