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Poles turned to wine

Poland’s wine market is expanding, posting an annual growth rate of five to six percent, one of the highest figures in Europe, according to media reports. Last year, consumers in Poland drank 107 million litres of wine, up from 87 million litres in 2010, a newspaper has reported.

Per capita consumption in 2016 was 5.5 litres, up from less than 3 litres three years ago.

Despite the trend, Poles still drink much less wine than many other Europeans, the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper said.

To compare, in the neighbouring Czech Republic, people drink 21 litres of wine a year per head, and in Slovakia consumption is 19 litres per head.

The average German drinks 28 litres of wine a year, and the average Italian consumes 44 litres; the figure for France is about 50 litres a year, according to the newspaper.

The wine market in Poland has fine prospects for further growth, the newspaper says, because at the moment wine accounts for only 7 percent of total spending on alcohol by consumers in this country.

This is in part because Poles tend to buy moderately priced wines, experts say. Most consumers have a preference for semi-dry red wines with a price tag of about PLN 16 (EUR 3.80; USD 4) per bottle, they say.

However, this is changing slowly but steadily, according to industry professionals. Szymon Milonas, who imports wines from other countries in Europe, says consumers in Poland are increasingly looking for quality wines to match specific dishes.

This is a big change from just five years ago, he says, when “the demand was mainly for cheap semi-sweet and semi-dry wines from markets such as Bulgaria, Hungary and Moldova.”

One hundred winemakers

As the fashion for wine consumption grows, so does the number of vineyards in Poland. They are springing up in areas with the best conditions for growing vines, including Lubuskie province in the west and Podkarpackie in the south-east.

There are more than 100 registered winemakers across the country, with a combined 250 hectares of land cultivated for wine grapes; most are small wineries not exceeding 1 hectare (10,000 square metres) in size, according to Gazeta Wyborcza.

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