National Wine Drinkers Survey: The Results (Part I)

Our thanks again to everyone who participated in our inaugural National Wine Drinkers Survey, last month. In all, over 500 of you were generous enough to respond, to give us some real insights into how wine is bought, consumed and regarded in Irish society.

Part I deals with the ‘where’ and the ‘how much’, with Part II tomorrow getting into the juicy stuff, like attitudes to wine and what you’d be prepared to give up to keep drinking the elixir of life (sorry, we’re making you wait on the now infamous question 21!).
So, without further ado…
Questions 1 to 3: Demographics
501 people responded to the survey, 56% of whom were female, 44% male. (Interestingly this is pretty close to the last figure on wine consumption by gender, by the now defunct Wine Board of Ireland in 2007, of 57% female/43% male.)
The majority of respondents (54%) were in the 26-40 age group, followed by 41-60 (36%). 6% of respondents were in the 18-25 bracket, with a final 4% in the over 60s.
97% of respondents reside in the Republic of Ireland.
Question 4: How often do you drink wine?
Accepting that this was a “wine drinkers’ survey”, it was still remarkable to learn that 93% of you drink wine at least once a week, with only 7% drinking less frequently than this. More than half (53%) enjoy a glass 2-3 times a week, with almost 1 in 5 consuming wine most days.
The survey also revealed a fascinating correlation between age and regular consumption. Only 3% of 18-25s drink wine most days, rising to 12% for the 26-40s and 23% for the 41-60s. It’s the Over 60s however who set the mark, and take a very continental approach to their consumption, with a whopping 70% drinking wine most days.
Question 5: How much would you spend on average on a bottle in a shop?
Despite industry concerns over a race to the bottom on price and quality, driven by economic meltdown and irresponsible selling, this was heart-warming stuff, both to consumers and independent retailers who champion quality and choice. Over 6 in 10 respondents spend €10 or over, on average, on a bottle of wine, with over 1 in 10 regularly spending €15 or more.
Even more encouraging, only 1% spend less than €6, the point at which more of the retail price goes to the government on tax than it does to the winemaker or retailer.
Men spend more than women (62% of men spend €10 or more versus 47% of women), but there was surprisingly little variation across the different age groups. The lowest spenders (55% under €10) were the Over 60s, perhaps tying in with more regular (although not necessarily greater) consumption.
Question 6: How much would you spend on a bottle of wine on a real treat?
Recession? What recession. Almost 6 in 10 wine drinkers will spend more than €20 on a bottle as a treat, with 97% happy to go over the €10 mark. This shows not only a continued willingness to splash out on life’s little luxuries, but that the Irish consumer has a confidence in, and appetite for, fine wine.
Again, men are more likely to splash out than women – 67% versus 40% happy to spend more than €20, with an impressive 1 in 5 men prepared to spend more than €40 on special occasions.
Question 7: How much would you spend on average on a bottle of wine in a restaurant?
The plight of pubs and restaurants in the current economic climate has been well documented, so it was with wonderment and delight that we discovered Irish wine drinkers are happy to ‘trade up’ in restaurants too.
Again, more than half of respondents are happy spending in the higher price brackets in restaurants, with 56% spending more than €25, on average, per bottle. The 18-25s stood out as the best bargain hunters, with 1 in 7 spending less than €15 on average (please tell us where those restaurants are!). Only 4% of respondents, however, regularly go over €40.
Question 8: Where do you drink?
97% of wine drinkers in Ireland drink in the home. This was consistent across all age groups, with 100% of the Over 60s doing so.
4 in 5 people also drink wine at friends/families, demonstrating what an integral part of the social fabric in Ireland wine has become. (Has wine replaced Mrs Doyle’s cup of tea as the social drink of choice in the home?)
4 in 5 also drink wine in pubs or restaurants, although this varies between 55% and 84% depending on the age group (the Over 60s like the comfort of their own homes to properly enjoy a good glass!).
Question 9: Where do you buy wine?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the largest single source for buying wine was the supermarkets, with 5 in 6 of you picking up a bottle with their groceries. However, it was encouraging news for the independents too, with over 6 in 10 shopping in independent wine stores.
Convenience stores fared the worst, with only 1 in 6 of you happy to pick up a bottle with your petrol or daily newspaper.
The sad news, for both retailers and the economy, is that 25% of respondents buy wine abroad. (This, again, is no surprise, but the exorbitant tax rates we currently pay on wine in Ireland is not for this post.)
As an interesting cross-reference, while 79% of respondents declared drinking wine in pubs and restaurants, only 53% declared buying it – and it was the men who were in the lower half of that!
Question 10: Have you (or a partner) ever bought wine online?
A subject close to our heart, the increasing confidence and convenience in shopping online was borne out by the survey responses.
Over half those surveyed have bought wine online, with over a third (from Question 9) doing so on a regular basis. Further, of those that hadn’t bought wine online up to now (Question 11), over a quarter of those cited “just never thought of it” as the main reason for not doing so.
Tune in tomorrow for Part II, where we find out your preferences for food, alcohol levels, closures, organic and, ahem, chocolate! We’ll also be announcing the winner of the luxury case of wine offered as a bribe incentive for completing the survey.


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