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Published:  23 July, 2008

Wines sales in the UK will reach 7 billion by 2008, up some 15% compared to last year, according to recent research. Produced by Datamonitor, the Wine in Europe study predicts that the amount of wine consumed per capita per year in the UK will grow from 16.6 litres to 19.3 by 2008, up from 14 litres in 1998. UK drinkers are still a long way behind the French, however, who top the consumption tables at a massive 48.5 litres per capita per year. The Italians come next, drinking 47.6 litres. According to John Band, drinks analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report, the gains of the wine sector have come at the expense of beer. Local pubs will continue to lose out, squeezed between wine drinking at home and the big-night-out venues in the town centre. Specialising in wine and good food may be the only way some of them can survive,' he said. Band added that the increase in drinking among women (up 27% between 1998 and 2003); the shift to off-trade drinking occasions, and the increasing use of wine as a partner for food have all added to wine's sales. Band added: Last year, alcohol volumes in the on-trade fell by 1%, but this actually understates the extent of the cultural shift. There is also a move towards drinking wine in pubs, restaurants and gastro pubs, as well as in the home.'