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The future of the global wine market

08 Jan 10:00 by Christian McGregor



  • The global wine market is set to grow 25% by 2022

  • The majority of the growth will be driven by China and Asia

  • Europe and the UK remain important high-value markets for the sector

The global wine market is expected to grow by 25% from $304bn to $380bn by 2022, at a 3.4% CAGR.  The wine market is largely dominated by Europe and the US, with growth increasingly in China, Hong Kong and the rest of Asia.


The growing importance of China

As in most consumer markets, China is the key growth driver, with its expanding middle-class spending more on luxury goods. A recent study by VineExpo and IWSR concluded that, by 2020, China could surpass the UK to become the world’s second most valuable wine market after the US.


In June 2017, organisers of the world’s leading wine exhibition show, Vinexpo, signed an agreement with Alibaba, China’s leading e-commerce provider. At the signing Vinexpo’s CEO said: “This underlines China’s growing prominence in the wine world as the fastest-growing market for high-quality wine with a huge potential. Current trends show that China is on course to becoming the world’s top wine-consuming nation within the next 20 years.”


Our unique MB perspective on the wine market in China and Asia

MacGregor Black’s Drinks Market Recruitment Specialist, Christian McGregor, spent 10 years recruiting in the Asia wine market, based in Hong Kong and recruiting within both on and off trade markets. He reports:


“The growing interest in wine in Asia, driven by rising consumption in China and Hong Kong, is shaking up the global market for wine talent. Wine consumption in China is predicted to climb by 39.8% by 2022.


As China is not yet a strong wine producing country, imported wines will continue to be the mainstay of the domestic market growth. However, the quality of China’s domestic wine is gradually improving, with some excellent small boutique wineries mainly located in north-western China.


In the Asia wine trade there is a temptation to parachute senior staff in from a company’s home country, but this brings challenges, as it can take them years to learn about local markets, to establish local networks, to become familiar with the local culture and learn the basics of the local language.


Asia-based talent in the wine industry does exist and has now built up some excellent skills and experience within that continent’s growing wine sector. Skills shortages, however still exist too, and our clients are often looking for sales, marketing and operation candidates with experience in the local Asian wine markets, as the growing demand for good candidates mirrors the growth in the sector.


The technical skills candidates needed in the sector are the same as you would find in more mature wine markets with palate, client base, wine qualifications, old world vs new world, consumption vs investment, on trade vs off trade, wholesale v retail, all important questions in identifying the very best talent.”


Europe and the UK

Europe is still the world’s most important wine market, both in terms of production and consumption, and will continue to be the most important market, despite the growth in China and Asia. Europe still leads in per capita consumption, and China will only average at 1.53 litres by 2020, compared with France’s 43.63 litres. That's still some difference.


Production continues to grow in the traditional countries; France, Italy, Spain and Germany and there's increased interest in wines from the smaller 'new kids on the block' like Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.


The UK market continues to grow, including production

Recent research from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association states that over half (60%) of UK adults now choose wine over other alcoholic drinks, amounting to over 30 million regular wine consumers across the country.


The UK wine industry, which includes a growing number of vineyards, is one of the most influential and diverse in the world. It's worth £17.3bn in economic activity to the British economy, supports nearly 270,000 jobs and contributes £8.6bn to the public finances annually (tax).


Wine production in the UK is also increasing and the quality and reputation of English and Welsh wines is gaining global momentum. Earlier in 2017 MPs put forward to Parliament the case for serving English wine at UK overseas missions. The 10 Minute Rule Bill aims to ensure British embassies and consulates overseas purchase and serve English and Welsh wine and sparkling wine at events and functions. English wine is already offered at 10 Downing Street to visiting dignitaries.


The future

Like any consumer sector, wine will have some interesting times ahead. Fuelled by changing consumer habits in both mature and new markets, the increased consumption and growth is putting real pressure on the available talent in the sector.


Exciting times also beckon through the growth of Asia, greater consumption in more traditional markets continuing and the consumption of all types of wine growing including those produced here in the UK. 


The impact on talent strategies

With this growing wine market we're seeing increased requests from our clients for globally mobile talent, who can be flexible and agile to achieve success through the greater opportunities presented.


If you’re a client looking to gain top talent in the sector, get in touch. We’d love to help, sharing our networks with you. Our network is your network.


Candidates in the wine sector should stay alert to global opportunities and keep on top of changing market trends. It’s the candidates doing this who will succeed in the sector long term. Please check out our jobs page for the very latest openings in both the wine and wider drinks sectors.




The IWSR / Vinexpo Report - The Wine World 2009 - 2019, April 2017

Mordor Intelligences, Global Wine Market - Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2017 - 2022), March 2017

Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) The Changing World Has Its Price - Q2 2017 Market Report

Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) Grape British Diplomacy, Friday, 17 March 2017

Vinexpo, Vinexpo Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Alibaba Group’s B2C Platform TMA, June 2017