French wine producers must seek a better understanding of consumer relationships if they are to arrest the decline in market share they are experiencing in the UK, according to a report released this month by just-drinks.

Though French wine still exerts a strong grip over UK consumers, these consumers tend to be older. The report, called "Who drinks French Wine in the UK 2003-2004", commissioned by just-drinks and written by Richard Halstead of Wine Intelligence, argues that French wine is making less headway with the under 45s.

Here the influence of the New World is much stronger and France is in danger of creating a "lost generation" of drinkers, who remain loyal to the New World as they get older.
The report warns that there can be no complacency in assuming young drinkers will turn to France and away from the New World as they get older.
Halstead said: "There is no evidence from this survey to support the notion that they [younger drinkers] will suddenly change their views of French win, unless actions are taken by French producers to address this issue."

However, the report does go on to highlight a number of opportunities. Its figures show that a large number of those consumers who are loyal to Australian wine, also consumer French wine.

And Halstead says: "Any improvement in perceptions of French wine, and lowering of perceptions of Australian wine, could have a marked effect on the relative market shares of the two countries. However, the reverse might also be true, given that 81% of French loyalists have consumed Australian wine within the past six months."

Just-drinks members can download a free copy of this report in full by going to: /membersclub/briefings.asp

Non members can sign up to just-drinks for only £99 and obtain their free copy along with other such briefings every month by going to: /offer/index-oct.asp