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Prosecco the more affordable, no less effervescent bubbly from Italy is expected to become the most popular form of sparkling wine over Champagne and Cava. — AFP picProsecco the more affordable, no less effervescent bubbly from Italy is expected to become the most popular form of sparkling wine over Champagne and Cava. — AFP picNEW YORK, Feb 21 — Over the next few years, the US and China will help offset declining rates of wine consumption across Europe — traditionally the cradle of wine production — to take the lead as the biggest wine markets in the world. 

According to new figures released by Vinexpo Hong Kong and the International Wine and Spirits Research, though the US is already the world’s largest wine market, the country will widen its lead over the next five years and is predicted to see 25 per cent more growth by 2021. 

That amounts to wine sales in excess of US$45 billion (RM175 billion). 

US wine sales amounted to about US$36 billion in 2017. 

Consumption in Europe, meanwhile, is poised to continue its downward decline.

Thirsty Chinese consumers are predicted to make China the world’s second biggest wine market, with sales expected to reach US$23 billion by 2021. 

Over the same period, Prosecco — the more affordable, no less effervescent bubbly from Italy — is expected to become the most popular form of sparkling wine over Champagne and Cava, with consumption predicted to rise to 40 million cases. 

And while Prosecco’s biggest market is currently the UK, the world’s biggest importer of sparkling wine, the landscape will shift, with the US emerging the biggest import market for Prosecco by 2021. 

Drink less, but drink better

The trend towards premium wine and spirits is likewise set to grow over the next five years. Defined as wines priced between US$10 to US$20, the premium wine market is set to grow by 60 million cases — that’s nearly double the growth projected for standard wines (priced between US$5 to US$9.99), which is set for 32 million cases. 

Savvier, more sophisticated palates are predicted to snub the cheapest wines on the market (less than US$5) — a category that’s predicted to decline by 75 million cases. 

Scottish and American whiskies will enjoy growing popularity over the next five years. Again, the US and China will account for much of the worldwide consumption rates of premium spirits, with growth between the two countries projected to rise by 30 million cases. — AFP-Relaxnews

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