Brazil, the first of the BRIC nations, benefits from an economic climate ripe for increased consumption and is currently undergoing significant social change, including the emergence of a new middle class, increased salaries and changes to lifestyle and consumption habits. All these factors play a role in creating opportunities for imports.
It is worth noting that the aperitif (or pre-dinner drinks or cocktail) is an important event for Brazilians, more so in fact than the meal itself. Brazilians like to get together for a drink and make the most of this time for socialising and exchange.
Brazil is the 2nd largest consumer of wine in Latin America after Argentina, and imports around 60 billion litres of wine each year, which represents less than 20% of the total wine volume consumed (340 million litres). Annual per capita consumption is barely 2l, even if we take into consideration significant local differences (4.8l in Rio de Janeiro compared to only 1l in Bahia). Brazil does not have a winedrinking culture and wine is associated predominantly with special occasions and is used to improve one’s personal standing or as a symbol of social status. Consumption is however increasing and it can also be noted that seasonal peaks in consumption are becoming less marked.
Today, good quality wines can be found around R$ 12 and R$18 (5-8 euros), but the average price in major distribution circuits is situated around 4 euros. Brazilian consumers are not sophisticated wine drinkers and the key buying trigger remains value for money. It is therefore the wines from Chile, Argentina, Italy and Portugal that continue to be the most successful. There are however significant barriers to entry for imported products from Europe, including duty, administration and high taxation.
Finally, in addition to wine drinking, new areas are starting to develop and grow related to wine, including careers in wine, such as sommelier, winemaking courses and publications (books, information guides and magazines), all linked to wine and its consumption.