French Youths, Look West!

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By Courtney Cochran

A recent study conducted by Sonoma State University professor Liz Thach revealed a serious problem afoot in France:  French young people aren't drinking wine like they used to.   At a time when American youths (the so-called Millennial generation, encompassing young adults who turned 21 after the turn of the new millennium) are drinking more wine, more often and at higher price points than any of their forebears, French youths are drinking...a lot less than their parents.
Qu'est-ce que c'est, le vin?
To be fair, young adults in France still consume a lot more wine than we do, on average about 56 liters per capita per year, compared to the American average of just 9 liters per capita across all age groups.  But this is down from a high of 120 liters 30 years ago, and trends today in La France show that family meals - where wine has long been a focal point - are increasingly being replaced by fast food and meals eaten alone.  Meanwhile, America's 20- and 30-somethings are embracing wine as part of their daily lives in ways wildly unprecedented for a nation long known for its affinity for liquor and beer.  And so I find it fitting - and amusing - that marketers are beginning to assert that young people in France could learn quite a bit from "emulating their US counterparts" where wine is concerned, as was reported in the August issue of Wine Spectator.  

Oui, I say, please do.

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