Our taste for tiny bubbles sparks surge in wine sales
Sales of sparkling wine almost doubled between 2017 and 2018, says a new report.
Sparkling wine, including champagne and prosecco, accounted for 2.7pc of wine sales in 2017, but for 4.7pc of the table wine market by 2018, according to the latest Irish Wine Market Report from Drinks Ireland.
Despite the growing popularity of rose - which accounted for 5pc of wine sales in 2017 and 2018 - we are still a nation of table wine drinkers. White wine was the tipple of choice for 49pc of wine drinkers last year, followed by red wine at 46pc, which saw a 1pc increase in consumption over the previous year.
Chilean wine remains Ireland's favourite by country of production for the sixth consecutive year, followed by Australian, Spanish, French and Italian.
While beer still leads the way as the most popular alcoholic beverage in Ireland, wine is a close second with a 27pc share of the market.
Despite this, wine sales decreased slightly by 3.9pc to a per capita consumption rate (of pure alcohol) of 2.96 litres last year compared with 3.07 litres in 2017.
However, Drinks Ireland chairman Jim Bradley pointed out that Ireland's high excise duties on wine at €3.19 per 750ml bottle, remains the highest in the EU.
Despite its growing popularity, it is the tax man who is getting the warmest glow from the sales of sparkling wine, according to Mr Bradley.
The excise duty on a 750ml bottle of sparkling wine is €6.37 - again the highest in 28 EU countries, he said.
"Effectively this excise duty is simply a tax on celebrations," he said, urging the Government to decrease excise on wine in the next Budget.