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The International Wine Industry
Forget the Food Bit - Just Give Me a Drink
Friday, 1st July, 2011  - Richard Farmer

That's the attitude of French youth when it comes to wine according to a recently published study. Research from the ESC Pau research centre and Toulouse 1 Capitole University shows that younger generations are less likely to savour a bottle over food and more prone to drink simply for pleasure.

Just 16.5 per cent of the French population are now regular wine drinkers with regular consumption over meals beiing replaced by the French drinking wine occasionally rather than frequently, often on nights out.

According to researchers Pascal Poutet and Thierry Lorey in their study of the approach to wine drinking of different generations, published in the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, "each successive generation represents a general increase in libertarian attitudes and irreverence towards institutions". While all agreed on the value and 'bon homie' of drinking wine, it was the over 65s who most linked it with French heritage and were more likely to drink it daily and share the experience. The middle groups are much more occasional drinkers and drink more socially with friends rather than family, and social status is a factor in their wine consumption. But for the under-30s, wine consumption is very much the exception rather than the rule.

London's Daily Telegraph reports:

Dr Poutet said: "There is a dual gap between the three generations, older, middle-aged, younger - on the one hand, the consumption frequency gap (from a daily wine consumption to a festive one, and then exceptional), on the other, the pleasure gap (evolution from a genuine pleasure towards a more ostentatious pleasure, more difficult to perceive for the younger generation)."

The younger generations may still take pride in French wine but have little awareness of its cultural place in French history, he said.

He explained: "The generational analysis of the representations of wine in France does seem to be appropriate to explain the deep changes that wine has undergone in the last 60 years.

"It is precisely the progressive loss of the identity, sacred and imaginary representations of wine (nation, region, lesser importance of the transmission of the culture of wine by the father within the family, etc) over three generations that explains France's global consumption attitudes, and especially the steep decline in the volumes of wine consumed."

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