Shun that bottle and save your euros: That's what French and Italians are saying as the recession cuts into wine consumption—but only in traditional lands of the vine. New World drinkers are still sipping steadily, with US tippling surpassing Italy's for the first time. After years of non-stop growth, estimates show global wine consumption down a modest 0.8% in 2008, the International Organization of Vine and Wine said today.
But the latest figures on wine-making and drinking around the world reveal a few key shifts: European vineyards accounted for less than half the world's grape production for the first time last year. Consumption fell in Europe's biggest wine-drinking nations, with the US, Canada, and Australia partially offsetting the drop. Another bright spot in the wine world is Brazil, which now has about 247,000 acres of vineyards.