Around 34% of regular wine drinkers in the UK have reduced their consumption in the on-trade in the last year, according to new figures from the Wine Institute and Wine Intelligence.

Talking at the 2009 London International Wine Fair, Brian Howard, business development director of Wine Intelligence, said that the hardest hit has been the restaurant industry, with a 64% reduction in wine consumption.

"Price is obviously a driver in many categories," Howard said. "We don't see a bottom yet…but there has certainly been some declines, especially in the casual, non-food sector."

Cox added that there has also been a 7% reduction in bar and pub spend amongst consumers and said that price is "obviously a driver in many categories".

Rupert Clevely, creator of gastro pub group Geronimo Inns, said that for him, wine has become an important part of his business.

"12 years ago wine accounted for about 20% of wet volume sales for us. Today it is about 45% so wine has grown dramatically along with the business. It is a sign of how times have changed and how much more important wine is now."

However, Clevely said that "thanks to our Chancellor", where consumers were once able to purchase a bottle of house wine for around GBP11 (US$16), now it is pushing towards the GBP13 mark.

Clevely said it is important that traders continue to sell names that people know as they like recognition.