Sacré Bleu! French Wine Drinking Hits All-Time Low

By McCarton Ackerman 11/30/12

The nation renowned for its love of vin cuts its drinking by two thirds.

French film star Gerard Depardieu still enjoys
a glass or two.
Photo via

What's the world coming to? The citizens of France may no longer be the reliable wine-quaffers of stereotype. A study reveals that while the country chugged a staggering 160 liters of wine per adult in 1965 (that's three glasses each per day), that number plunged to 57 liters in 2010 (a measly one glass per day). Wine was served at half of all meals in 1980; "The teachers all sat down to lunch together in the school dining room and drank two or three glasses of wine before going back to class," one former visitor to French high schools tells The Fix. But only one in four French meals in 2010 involved booze. The number of French people who drink wine every day also fell from 21% in 2005 to 17% in 2010, while occasional drinkers, who enjoy a glass once or twice a week, rose from 41%-45%, and teetotalers remained stable at 38%. "Alcohol in general and wine in particular have become a weekend thing, to be consumed in a convivial or celebratory setting," says Philippe Janvier, one of the study's authors. Caroline Plot, the official who oversaw the research, adds that sodas and fruit juices have increasingly been replacing wine during meals. The change in wider society has been reflected at the presidential level: while French politicians have traditionally been wine "ambassadors," recently-ousted president Nicolas Sarkozy shockingly claims never to have drunk a drop in his life.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.