The Consumer Intelligence survey for the WSTA (Wine and Spirit Trade Association) shows the numbers of wine drinkers drinking red have dipped in the last three months from 78% to 72%. Consumers say that the amount of red wine they drink as a proportion of total wine consumption is also down, from 44% to 40%.
Yet the amount of white and rosé wines consumed as a proportion of total wine consumption has increased over the past quarter. White wine is up from 40% to 43%; Rosé is up from 16% to 18%.
Meanwhile within the white wine category the popularity of Pinot Grigio continues to grow, with numbers recording drinking it in the previous six months up from 47% in October last year to 54% now. Pinot Grigio has overtaken Sauvignon Blanc as the second most popular white wine varietal, behind Chardonnay.
Researchers believe the shift in drinking patterns stretches beyond the customary summer boost for lighter wine styles.
Brian Howard of Wine Intelligence, said: "These findings are consistent with other research and industry indicators suggesting consumers are edging away from some of the more traditional red wines on formal occasions towards lighter wines in casual settings. We will be monitoring these measures closely to see if future surveys confirm an ongoing trend."
The survey also shows:
- A continuing fall in the numbers claiming to drink wine most days or every day (from 13% to 11%), alongside a slight growth in the numbers drinking wine between two and five days a week (from 38% to 40%)
- A growth in typical spend in the off-trade in the £4-£4.99 range (from 35% to 37%)
- A growth in typical spend in the on-trade in the £12-£14.99 range (from 24% to 28%)
Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA, said: "This latest survey has some interesting insights into current tastes and trends. The continued growth in rosé won't surprise industry insiders but there are signs it may be part of a broader shift towards lighter wine styles."