It is not new that wine consumption in Brazil is growing in this quarantine. But the volume of this increase is impressive. With all the data for the first half of 2020 computed, per capita wine consumption reached 2.37 liters – considering only the over-18 population.
This atypical year began with a period of panic, which lasted until March, when Covid-19 showed its strength in the foreign market, but still did not cause victims here. From mid-March, with the virus present in Brazil and the quarantine, a growth curve in wine consumption began to be drawn, mainly with sales in supermarkets and e-commerce. Since then, the increase has occurred both in imported wines and Brazilian wines.
In May and June, both imports and sales of Brazilian wineries gained a new moment. It became necessary to replenish stocks, consumed in the first months of the year, and to guarantee stocked shelves for winter shopping, when the demand grows, mainly for red wines.
The result is that the sum of imports and the commercialization of Brazilian labels in the first half of 2020 totals 200 million liters of wine, an increase of 27.8% concerning the same period of 2019. Only in June, when it was commercialized 60 million liters of wine. Last year, October was the month with the highest volume (here added imports with the sale of wineries), with a total of 47.7 million liters.
Per capita consumption is even higher when analyzing only the data for the second quarter of 2020. From April to June, it was 2.81 liters per inhabitant over the age of 18, an increase of 39% compared to the same period in 2019. Or, if only consumption in quarantine is analyzed, the increase in per capita consumption was 72%, compared to the first quarter of the year.
It is Brazilian table wine, the one made with non-wine grape varieties, that is leading this growth. In the comparison of the first half of 2020 with the same period of 2019, the increase in the volume sold was 39%, reaching 45 million liters. The most expressive increase, proportionally, was of Brazilian fine wines, of 50%. Imported wines increased by 8%, reaching 10 million liters.
With this increase, Brazilian table wines currently represent 68% of the total wine market in the country (64% in the first half of 2019); imported ones went from 32%, in the first six months of 2019, to 27%, in this semester, and national fine wines, rose from 4% to 5%.
When comparing only fine wines, imported wines now represent 84%, against 88% in the first half of 2019; and Brazilian labels add up to 16% (12%).
In this growth trajectory, only sparkling wines recorded a drop in consumption per capita in this first semester compared to January to June 2019. With the equivalent of 0.143 liters per capita, the consumption of bubbles decreased 2%, including domestic and imported labels. The explanation is straightforward: this category is still very much associated with parties and celebrations, which have suffered a strong impact in this pandemic.
The increase in this interest in wines raises several questions, which will be answered over the next few months. The most relevant of these is whether this consumption will be sustained when a vaccine is effective in fighting coronavirus. But only time will respond.