Consumers in the UK are cutting their spend on wine as one of the worst recessions for decades tightens household purse strings, new research shows.

A third of regular wine drinkers surveyed by UK research agency Wine Intelligence said that they were spending less on wine because of the current economic climate.

The study, commissioned by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) and released today (13 March), questioned 1,000 consumers who drinks wine at least once per month.

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles warned that consumers on lower budgets are "simply being priced out of the wine category". Nielsen figures, he said, show that sales wine priced under GBP4 (US$5.6) fell by 11% last year. 

As well as lower spend, more than a quarter of those surveyed said that they were drinking at home more often, as opposed to in pubs are restaurants.

The Wine Intelligence survey will be used by the WSTA to exert more pressure on ministers over their planned tax increase on wine in next month's UK Budget announcement. Drinks trade bodies, including the WSTA, are due to meet chancellor Alistair Darling on Monday (16 March).