Wine production in Brazil surpassed the three million hectoliters mark in 2017 and 2018, after having decreased to the lowest output during the past decade in 2016. In that year, only 1.3 million hectoliters of wine were produced in the country. Wine consumption figures are also very promising, with demand remaining consistent at over three million hectoliters for the past ten years. Per capita consumption amounted to almost 1.9 liters per person in 2017, and the quantity is expected to increase in the next couple of years. However, Brazilians’ average consumption of wine still lags behind that of ‘old world’ wine countries as well as other emerging wine markets in South America.
Regarding types of wine, the most popular among Brazilian consumers were the red varietals, specifically, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Based on a recent survey, 55 percent of respondents in Brazil stated they had drunk red wine in the previous six months. The share of white wine consumers amounted to 25 percent, only slightly higher than the share of rosé wine drinkers, which stood at 20 percent. According to Brazilian consumers, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were the most preferred white wine varietals. Fortified wines, which are very popular and used to prepare mulled wine during the traditional June festivities (‘Festas Juninas’), are also among the most consumed wines by Brazilians.
Internationally, the most highly praised Brazilian wines, usually considered the country’s ‘signature’ wines, are sweet wines commonly used to accompany deserts. These can be either still or (semi-)sparkling wines, one of the most famous varietals being Moscato, also known as Muscat in English speaking countries.
When it comes to origin, it was estimated that over 65 percent of the wines sold in Brazil were produced domestically, whereas the remainder share came from foreign wine producing nations. Wineries in Brazil mainly produce table wine as opposed to fine wine. In fact, the vineyard surface area destined to growing vitis vinifera - the grape species mostly used to produce fine wine - amounted to only around ten percent, whereas the area destined to growing table grapes accounted for almost 90 percent of all the wine growing territory in Brazil.
Rio Grande do Sul was, by far, the largest wine producing region in the country. This state was responsible for more than 90 percent of production destined for export, followed far behind by the state of São Paulo, with merely six percent. The majority of Brazilian wine exports were destined to the neighboring Paraguay, which represented more than 60 percent of the total value of wine exported from Brazil in 2018. The U.S. and the U.K. were other important countries of destination based on share of exports.
On the import side, the largest share of imported wines in Brazil originated from Chile (almost 40 percent), while around 15 percent came from Argentina and 14 percent from Portugal. These imports were mainly destined to the state of São Paulo, whose homonymous capital city is undoubtedly considered the country’s culinary center and home to the most acclaimed Brazilian restaurants.