Wine is no longer defining the French culture

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Many countries grow wine, but in none it has become such a deeply rooted expression of culture as in France. The history of wine consumption as a widespread lifestyle reaching back to the days of the French revolution seems to have come to an end. Hugh Schofield from the “BBC” presents sobering numbers for the industry and explains the background.
A closer look at the tables of French cafès reveals that the glass of wine is more a historical stereotype than reality. Wine consumption in the country is declining rapidly. In 1980 more than half of the adults consumed their glass of wine on a daily basis, now only 17% cherish this pleasure while the number of people never drinking wine has more than doubled to close to 40%. Average consumption dropped from 165 liters a year in the 1960ties to less than 60 liters in 2010. Like in many parts of the world mineral water has started to win out when it comes to the drink accompanying a meal. Some have the impression that with the wine a central piece of culture and the “time honored French values of conviviality, tradition, and appreciation” may get lost.
Historically wine consumption was a clear marker of the French culture. Its recent decline clearly expresses generational differences, the impact of modern inventions such as alcohol forbidding cars as means of transport, and world-wide health trends. This is an example of the evolution which occurs at the roots of a culture and its ultimate reflection on its surface. In addition, a multitude of unrelated small processes is responsible. Now this trend will be very hard to stop and impossible to reverse.