Britons now spend more on wine than the French – with nearly TWO BILLION bottles downed last year, new data revealed today.
Wine consumption rose by 1.1 per cent last year to 1.765 billion bottles, making Britain the world’s largest wine importer.
Total wine sales reached £8.642 billion – more than France – with overall wine consumption rising by 6.6 per cent since 2005.
Brits are also developing more expensive taste in wine, with the average price of a bottle hitting £5.21 last year.
White wine is the best-loved tipple and accounts for 44 per cent of consumption, according figures compiled by the International Wine & Spirit Research (IWSR) company.
Sales of rose have nearly doubled with a growth of 93 per cent between 2005 and 2009, with demand expected to rise a further 10 per cent by 2014.
Consumption of red wine dropped by 7.7 per cent over the same period but sales of fizzy wines, including Champagne, have soared by 16.1 per cent.
Drinkers guzzle more vodka than any other spirit, with Brits consuming 8.43 million cases last year – 20 per cent more than in 2005.
Tequila also became a drinking staple in the same five year period – with sales up a huge 33.3 per cent.
Apprentice winner Stella English, 31, was right with her predictions for bourbon, as consumption for the spirit is expected to double from 2005 – 2014.
It has already grown 25 per cent in the last five years.
Despite the UK being the world’s third largest consumer of cognac and Scotch whisky, demand for the traditional tipples has decreased by 13.2 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively.
The data was compiled by IWSR, an alcoholic beverage research company, on behalf of VINEXPO, the world’s biggest wine and spirit exhibition which takes place in Bordeaux, France, in June.