Click on the link to the Decanter item below. The US of A is now the world’s leading wine consuming nation, mostly due to a significant reduction in French wine drinking:
Is this significant news? Well, personally, I think that France, despite paying lip service to wine as a national heritage, is slowly but deliberately killing off its wine production sector with la loi Evin etc.
I know this may be a bit provocative, but is there a bit of hypocrisy in the French stance, are they saying “Wine is no good for Frenchmen, but since ze foreigners are so bloody robust, we can pretend it is a lurvly French commodity and promote it abroad”?
At any rate, this kind of shift in consumption patterns certainly puts emphasis on exports, and not just in France. That may be good (educating the world about wine diversity, trying to spread the word about quality) or bad (“branding”, emphasis on pushing quantity rather than quality), but it is certainly my hope that an increasingly competitive world market place will lead to increases in quality and diversity, and not to dumbing down. But if France is strangling its wine sector from within, it will surely be one of the losers in this increasingly global game.