First of all, let’s just say in introduction that there are some very good wines produced in every countries by passionate winegrowers super attentive to quality, in the vineyards and in the cellars, as well as large commercial conglomerates who prioritize quantity, economy of scale, and intelligent marketing to gain market shares and flood the market with not so good wines, and everything in-between.
Beyond all personal preferences and subjective biases, what can we objectively say about sparkling wine production and consumption around the world? What are the facts? Let’s take a closer look at the world’s top 2 producers, Italy and France, and their flagship sparkling wines : Prosecco and Champagne.*
In the last 20 years, the sparkling wine market has expanded at a fast pace in response to high global demand. In 2018 the world sparkling wine production reached for the first time 2 billion litres, with an overall increase of +57% since 2002.
The production of sparkling wine is highly concentrated. Almost half of the total volume produced in 2018 comes from Italy (27%) and France (22%) and the top 5 producing countries (IT, FR, DE, ES, US) account for 80% of the global sparkling wine production.
Italy is the world’s largest producing country since 2016. Italian sparkling wine production in 2018 is 530 million litres, about 10% of its total wine production.
Since 2008 the production volume of Italian sparkling wines has more than doubled, recording an average annual growth rate of 9%.
This substantial increase has been mainly driven by high demand for both closed tank sparkling wines (e.g. Prosecco) and, although to a lesser extent, bottle fermented wines (e.g. Franciacorta and Trento).
Out of the total national production volume of sparkling wine, Prosecco alone represents 66% or 350 million litres.
France is the second-largest producer of sparkling wines with 440 million litres in 2018, a value in line with the average registered over the last 15 years.
Champagne is the first sparkling wine produced in the country with 270 million litres produced in 2018.
In recent years, other sparkling wines following the same method but known as “Crémant” have increased their market share. It is the case of Crémant d’Alsace (31 million litres), Crémant de Bourgogne (23M), Crémant de Loire (18M), and Crémant de Bordeaux (6.5M).
In 2018, five countries - Germany, France, USA, Russia, and Italy - represent 62% of global sparkling wine consumption.
France is the second country in terms of consumption with 260 million litres in 2018, a value slightly below the average observed in the last 20 years. The most consumed sparkling wine is Champagne, with 147 million bottles sold in France in 2018.
Italy is the fifth consumer in the world, with 160 million litres consumed in 2018. Since the 2008 crisis, the internal demand has been increasing at a fast pace of about 5.5% per year. The first sparkling wine consumed in the country is Prosecco, which accounts for about half of total consumption, 80 million bottles or so.
The export market is highly concentrated, with 3 countries - Italy, France, and Spain – representing 85% of world sparkling wine exports in 2018. It is worth noting that the weight of these 3 countries in the world total has been increasing consistently since 2008 (when their share was about 79%).
With 390 million litres exported in 2018 (i.e. 73% of its national production), Italy alone accounts for 43% of the world sparkling wine export market.
Since 2002, the exported volume of Italian sparkling wine has registered an average growth rate of more than +10% per year.
Behind this boom is Prosecco which in 2018 represents 65% of Italian sparkling wine exports. Main destinations were the UK, the USA and Germany.
In terms of value, sparkling wine exports in 2018 were worth 1.5 billion EUR, i.e. 25% of global export value.
France is the second exporter in terms of volume at 190 million litres in 2018, with Champagne alone accounting for 110 million litres.
Exports represent about 43% of total national sparkling production, thus confirming the important role played by the strong internal demand.
Export volume has been increasing consistently since the beginning of the century (with the only exception of the biennium 2008- 2009 when the economic crisis hit hard on the demand of Champagne).
However, while France used to represent about 33% of the total exported volumes worldwide at the beginning of the 2000s, in 2018 the weight of French export is about 21%.
Main export destinations in 2018 were the USA, the UK, and Singapore.
In terms of value, France still represents 52% of the global export value with 3 billion EUR, although in 2003 this share was about 70%.
In 2018, more than half of the bottles of sparkling wine exported were shipped to the 5 world-largest importers: the UK (140 million litres), the USA (140M), Germany (70M), Belgium (40M), and Russia (40M).
In terms of value in 2018, the USA is the largest importer (with 1.1 billion EUR), followed by the UK (723 million EUR), Japan (523 m EUR), Germany (425 m EUR), and Singapore (308 m EUR).
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