Wine consumption at record high

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The Independent Online
Publicity over the health benefits of wine and the availability of cheap alcohol in the French Channel ports has helped push consumption in Britain to record levels, a report shows.

Some 675 million litres of alcoholic grape juice were drunk in the UK last year - worth pounds 4.4bn. But we still only drink a seventh as much wine per person as the French.

The report, by industry analysts Datamonitor, says New World wines are growing in popularity although traditionally sourced French wine still makes up a third of that quaffed in the UK. German wines come second in the popularity stakes, accounting for 16 per cent of sales, followed by Italy, 13 per cent, and Australia, 9 per cent - up 20 per cent on four years ago. Wines from South Africa and Chile have also shot up in popularity from a very low base in 1996, along with those from other European countries such as Spain.