2 - Germany: the elevator pitch

Six talking points that describe where the German wine market is in 2015 – and where it is going

As well as becoming a dominant political force in Europe, Germany is fast becoming its most influential wine market. Following the release of the Wine Intelligence German Wine Market Landscape report, we thought it would be useful to script a talking points memo.


Germany is a traditional wine market; the most popular country of origin for wines is Germany itself, followed by France, Italy and Spain. For the moment, the New World struggles for attention: South Africa is the most popular New World country, and yet only one in five regular wine drinkers have bought wine from there in the lat six months. Meanwhile, as far as imported wines go, Spain has shown the biggest increase in consumer preference.

Country, region and grape variety are all important choice cues for German consumers and over half admit to being unadventurous and sticking with what they know.


Linked with their traditional approach, German wine drinkers like to be patriotic in their choices; this trend is reflected in grape variety preference where Riesling and Dornfelder both remain strong sellers. The overwhelming consumer preference remains for varieties strongly linked with Germany.

This domestic bias stretches to sparkling wine, where German Sekt dominates consumption despite being rated (by the Germans themselves) as the least fashionable of all fizz styles. A whopping three out of four bottles of fizz consumed in Germany are produced in Germany.


Germans are also very modest in their level of wine drinking – the market is the world’s fourth biggest in volume but only eighth in terms of per capita consumption. Per capita consumption has been in decline, but this decline appears to have slowed of late.

Slight gender skew, dramatic age skew

In keeping with the theme of tradition, beer remains hugely popular, with 73% of German wine drinkers drinking beer. The popularity of beer helps to cast wine as a female preference, with women accounting for over half of wine drinkers. Wine also struggles to penetrate younger consumer groups – three quarters of regular wine drinkers are aged 45 or over.

Slightly more free spending

The average spend has increased significantly since 2013, for both casual and formal meals in the on-trade, as well as in the off-trade.

… with some changes afoot

Rosé has attracted significantly more regular wine drinkers since 2013 and Shiraz, Pinotage, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are all on the list of up and coming grape varietals.

German wine drinkers are going out more – 45% now drink in bars or pubs, up from 26% in 2013. There is also evidence of positive change in attitudes towards screw caps and Prosecco.

Author: Eva Maitland

Email: eva@wineintelligence.com