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Israelis may not be known for their huge alcohol intake, but new data shows consumption is on the rise.
The amount spent on alcohol outside of pubs and restaurants has increased 20 percent over the last year to NIS 1.2 billion, with two-thirds, or NIS 800 million going on wine, research company Credit Information Association said Tuesday. Israelis also spent NIS 120m. on beer, drinking an average of 15 liters a year.
"Israel is not yet considered a wine power but it's possible that it's going in that direction," the association said.
Three-quarters of the wine bought was locally produced and the rest was imported, with the survey showing that 80% making sure they buy kosher wine. Half of Israelis prefer red wine and just under a third prefer white. They lay out an average of NIS 25 a bottle.
However, Israelis don't seem to buy in bulk. Only 20% purchase a bottle a week, 30% a bottle a month. The vast majority of sales take place in supermarkets with 15% in specialist shops and wine boutiques.
Foreign sales are also on the rise with statistics showing Israeli wineries have exported $13m. worth of wine to more than 50 countries over the last year. The main destination is the US, where sales rose 15% to $9m. Sales to France were $1.5m. and were $1m. to the UK.
Wine exports have historically been kosher and targeted at the Jewish community, although this has started to change.
"In the last few years, Israeli wine presses, and in particular the boutiques, have been trying to brand themselves abroad by exporting quality non-kosher wines," the association said.
Israel has 12 commercial wineries, with the five largest ones processing more than 2,000 tons of grapes a year. Thee are also 150-200 boutique wineries, 90% of which are privately owned and a few of which are owned by kibbutzim.