WINE sales have plummeted by up to 10pc this year as repeated government tax hikes eat ever further into the cost of each bottle

The taxman now enjoys a windfall of nearly €5 every time you pull out the cork on a bottle of wine costing just €8.

And the repeated price increases are having an impact, with a new survey showing that 28pc of people are drinking less wine than they used to.

A survey by Wolf Blass & Lindeman’s ahead of Christmas showed that for every €1 increase in the price tag, the number of consumers who stop buying a brand almost doubles.

This means duty hikes of €1.50 a bottle slapped on wine over the last year have forced many customers downmarket in their choices.

Revenue figures to the end of June show a 10pc fall in wine sales this year.

Irish people drank 107 million bottles of wine last year, according to Irish Wine Association figures.

Well over half the bottles purchased cost under €8 and eight out of 10 of them cost less than €9.

Irish adults drink around 17 litres of wine a year, which is less than half the 40-plus litres a head drunk in France, Portugal and Italy.