Millennials with a taste for prosecco drive boom in UK sparkling wine market

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Take-up of prosecco among young people is driving the booming bubbly industry (Source: Getty)

An overwhelming majority of British millennials say they drink prosecco, as the UK becomes the sixth largest sparkling wine market in the world.

A poll by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) found that 97 per cent of 18-24 year olds surveyed drink prosecco.

Read more: Here's how the UK's prosecco and champagne markets fared this year

Recent evidence points towards the UK becoming the largest and fastest-growing export market for Italian sparkling wines, led by prosecco.

Since 2012, sales of sparkling wine and champagne in the UK have soared by 72 per cent as Brits knock back an extra 44 million bottles a year.

Read more: Mon Dieu! French wine output may fall to record lows thanks to spring frost

This makes the UK the sixth largest sparkling wine market in the world and the largest market for champagne outside of France.

But even as the market for British-produced wine grows, 99 per cent is still imported to the UK. Last year Britain imported 1.8 billion bottles of both still and sparkling wine.

The WSTA warned that as import prices rise due to a weaker pound sterling, the government should ensure "frictionless" post-Brexit trade.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA said this was a mutually beneficial goal for both European and British wine traders.

"Brexit negotiations must avoid disruption to existing trade, a view that is strongly supported by our colleagues in the EU wine and spirit trade," he said. 

"We are working together to forge a plan that keeps our historic trade flows intact, regardless of any posturing – either in Westminster or Brussels.”

The wine industry makes a total contribution to the treasury of £9.1bn a year.

Read more: UK and EU wine industries unite to form a plan for trade after Brexit