That most Gallic of pursuits – drinking lots and lots of wine – doesn’t seem to have quite the appeal for the French that it used to.
The average French adult consumed 57 liters of wine – or about 15 gallons – in 2010, according to a new report from the French Ministry of Agriculture division FranceAgriMer.
That’s still far more vin than their peers in the U.S. and Britain drank, but just a trickle compared with the 160 liters the French consumed in 1965. In a country famous for its wine and wine drinkers, it's a record low.
In 1980, more than half of French people older than age 15 drank wine every day. Vino was served at half of all meals.
In 2010, after decades of steady declines, just 17% of drinking French folk had wine regularly. The beverage shows up just once in every four meals, as tap water, juices and sodas become more prevalent.
However, as wine becomes more a weekend event, the number of occasional drinkers who sip a glass once or twice a week is up slightly to 45% from 41%, according to the report.
Analysts speculate that the decline of the French oenophile spirit may have to do with increasing health awareness in the country as well as the European debt crisis and a 10.7% French unemployment rate.
Meanwhile, poor weather will cause global wine production to shrink 6.1% this year to its lowest point since 1975, according to the Paris-based International Organization for Vine and Wine.
And a wine shortage equal to 1.3 billion bottles could hit next year, according to French wine cooperative Groupe Val d’Orbieu.