A French rebellion is brewing. And it’s taking place in the vineyards. In 2014, the US surpassed France as the world’s largest wine-consuming nation. And, the French are hopping mad.
French dominance of the international market has been eroding for years under the onslaught of quality and cleverly marketed wines from the New World. (Yes, that be US!) And, even worse, consumption in France is down. Vintners there are worried that their French brethren will stop drinking altogether – and one government health official recently proposed the screwy idea to outlaw wine altogether. Délirant!
Many French blame their past-president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who was a steadfast teetotaler – and proud of it. A group of winemakers in the south of France longed for the leadership of someone more like another past-president, Jacques Chirac, who “at least knew how to put the drinks away.”
Why are the French drinking less? According to a recent study in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship, French drinking habits are generational. The French population ages 50 and over grew up with wine on the table at every meal. For them, wine was part of their culture. Now the younger generation doesn’t even start taking an interest in wine until their mid-to-late 20s. For them, wine is a product, not a part of heritage.
Here in the US, the younger generation – particularly the Millennials are partly to blame (or cheer?) for the increase in wine consumption. It was recently reported that almost 30% of the population ages 21 to 26 drink wine daily.
Well, we’re certainly not in the Millennial generation, but we do cheer the United States for its smarts in wine consumption.
Á votre santé!
Barbara and Beverly