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Wine still a drink for the upper class'

Published:  23 July, 2008

A survey of nearly 1,000 adults has shown that wine is still considered to be a drink consumed by the upper classes.

The research, carried out by Key Note, showed that wine achieved more than 80% penetration among the AB socio-economic groups, but less than 50% among those in the

E category.

The research also looked at grape varieties and wine brands. Comparing the results of the 2006 survey with similar research carried out in 2001 and 1997, the respondents were asked which types or brands' of wine they drank. In terms of grape varieties, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Champagne all scored 36% in the 2006 survey. However, in 2001, Chardonnay scored 48%, and Merlot only 31%. Lambrusco scored 40% in 1997, but only 17% in the most recent survey, while Liebfraumilch rated 35% nine years ago, but only 15% this year.

In terms of brands, Jacob's Creek rose from 39% in 2001 to 46% in 2006; Hardy's increased from 25% to 32% over the same period; but Piat d'Or fell from 21% to 14% between 1997 and 2006.

Looking at the male/female split of consumption by variety, women outscored men for Chardonnay (38% against 33%) and Sauvignon Blanc (30% against 24%); and when it came to red varieties, men outscored women on Cabernet Sauvignon (37% against 34%), and on Merlot (37% against 34%).

And comparing the age split of wine drinkers, Chardonnay was favoured by 45- to 64-year-olds, as was Cabernet Sauvignon, while Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc saw a much more even split.

In the social grade category, 58% of As' drank Chardonnay, compared with 17% of Es', whereas for Sauvignon Blanc, the Es scored 47% and the As only 39%.

On the brands, 48% of 20- to 24-year-olds drank Jacob's Creek, but only 3.9% of that age bracket had tried Piat d'Or.