The USA is taking over the UK as the world’s biggest sparkling wine importer? It was inevitable.
Harpers reported that the “UK’s status as the biggest importer of sparkling wines will be challenged over the next three years” with the US taking the top spot by 2021. The news should hardly be surprising since the US has been the top growth market for both still and sparkling wine in the last couple of years.
When I ventured out to the States you could tell immediately that the culture of drinking wine is so much more vibrant over there. There’s a passion in seeking out quality wines and cities like New York are littered with excellent independent wine shops. It’s hard to rival that in the UK – our independents by comparison often seem a little deserted.
But it also shouldn’t be forgotten that – despite how much we keep funnelling down Prosecco by the gallon load – the UK is a much smaller market than the US, simply in sheer population. Even if we matched the US market growth of 2%, we’d soon run out of Prosecco fans while the US market would shoot by us.
It’s a little vain to even be worrying about being number one when countries like China, India and Japan are becoming more interested in wine. Asia has the potential to out-grow any Western wine market, especially as they don’t yet produce enough wine to fulfil domestic demand.
Instead what I think the UK should focus on is a diversity of sparkling wine products. My worst nightmare would be to be no. 1 only for it to mean we had a monopoly for the Prosecco market – how boring for wine. Prosecco is a good wine but the value of the UK market is that you can go into a supermarket or an independent and discover English sparkling wine, Champagne, Chilean & Argentinian fizz, Cava, Aussie & NZ bubblies, German Sekt, Lambrusco and so on.
We thrive as a multicultural nation in every sense; our food and wine are better for it. Let’s stop pretending we’re the world’s power and grovelling over a number one spot. Instead let’s embrace why we are Great Britain: the huge diversity of flavours to discover…