For some of us, compulsory isolation only made popping a bottle seem more enticing. Yet, that was not the case for drinkers across the world last year. Global wine consumption declined significantly in 2020, reaching its lowest level since 2002.
On Tuesday, the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) reported the 2020 data in its annual State of the World Vitiviniculture Sector report. Overall wine consumption dropped 3 percent, or roughly 6.2 billion gallons.
Regardless of the bleak year for wine, the previous prediction from OIV’s director Pau Roca did not come to fruition. Roca projected a drop of as much as 10 percent. “That was a bit too negative,” he said in an online press conference.
The wine industry suffered greatly at the hands of pandemic-related restaurant closings, a blow that was partially softened by the increase in wine sales through e-commerce outlets, large retailers, and supermarkets. The latter, according to Roca, might have been wine’s saving grace. “Supermarkets really helped compensate for [the hospitality industry’s] losses,” Roca said.
High-end wines were hit the worst, with the closings of tasting rooms, while larger wholesalers were buoyed by off-premise sales.
The United States remained the world’s largest wine-consuming country at nearly 900 million
gallons, despite exorbitant European tariffs set in place by former president Donald Trump that threatened the wine industry at its core.
With few things to celebrate in 2020, sparkling wine and Champagne sales unsurprisingly also plummeted last year. Conversely, boxed wine sales flourished, climbing a whopping 12 percent.