A third of UK adults state wine is their ‘favourite tipple’, study shows


A third (32%) of UK adults who drink alcohol say wine is their favourite alcoholic drink, according to new YouGov research revealed today by Wine Drinkers UK (WDUK). Beating beer (25%) and spirits (25%) into second and third place respectively, wine is loved by drinkers right across the UK.

And its popularity has increased under lockdown with the latest data for off-trade showing wine sales were up 10% year-on-year in 2020 and off-trade sparkling wine sales increased by 5%.

Total alcohol sales were down last year because the hospitality sector was closed or curtailed but the YouGov survey suggests people have bought more wine to drink at home during the three lockdown periods over the last 12 months. One in four (24%) of those questioned say their spend on take-home wine has increased since the first lockdown last March, with 5% saying it has increased by nearly a third. Those living in London (30%) and the West Midlands (29%) say their spend has increased the most.

Despite its status as the most popular drink, tax rises on wine (39%) in the last decade have far outstripped those on beer (16%) and spirits (27%). Only 4% of people surveyed correctly guessed the level of tax on a £5 bottle of wine was 61% (83p on VAT and £2.23 on Duty).

The YouGov survey of more than 1,800 respondents across the UK who drink alcohol, shows women are more loyal to the grape than men, with a significant 43% choosing it as their favourite drink, compared to 21% of men. The over-35s are clear that wine is their drink of choice, compared to the under-35s who generally prefer beer or spirits.

People living in the South West (39%) and East of England (34%) are the most likely to prefer wine in England, putting paid to the stereotypes that those in London (32%) and the South East (29%) are more likely to prefer wine over beer and spirits.

In terms of the type of wine we choose, crisp, dry whites (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc) grab first place with one 41% choosing them as their favourite. Full-bodied reds, such as Malbec and Shiraz pull their weight in second place with 39%, with the ever-popular Prosecco taking third with 30%.

However, there is a divide across the nation in terms of preferences. While a crisp, dry white is universally popular, those in Scotland (46%) and the North West (48%) are more likely to choose it over everything else, while those in the South West (50%) and London (44%) are more likely to opt for a full-bodied red.

Drinks writer, presenter and WDUK supporter Helena Nicklin, said: “Britain is without doubt a nation of wine lovers. It is our favourite alcoholic drink and its popularity continues to grow. Wine is enjoyed by ordinary people across the country, the old stereotype of it being a drink only for the well-off middle class is a thing of the past.”

She continues: “There hasn’t been a cut in wine tax for nearly 40 years and since 2010, duty on wine has increased significantly more than on beer, cider and spirits. This impacts an industry that is increasingly important to the British economy and the millions of ordinary people in the UK who enjoy wine.”