The British are drinking higher quality wine but less of it, according to a survey that has shown a rise in sales of higher quality wines in licensed establishments.

The Liberty Wines Premium On-Trade Report showed that premium sales account for 13% of the total wine consumption despite a slowing down of overall wine consumption (+ 0.7% by volume, -9.3%by value (2013 vs 2014) but a surge in premium drinks in restaurants, wine bars, hotels and gastropubs.

On-trade Champagne and Prosecco sales have grown by 45% with Champagne accounting for 60% of all sparkling wines drunk in the establishments surveyed.

High-end gastro pubs have seen the biggest growth in wine sales up by 47%, by volume, from 2013 with white wine remaining dominant by volume in the premium on-trade, accounting for 55% of sales compared to 36% for red wine. However by value, red wine is showing good growth to be just 3% behind white at 44%. All main red varieties are up, with Merlot the biggest grape by value, up 18.3%.

French and Italian wines have the highest growth by volume and value but New Zealand is the fastest growing by value

David Gleave, managing director of Liberty Wines, said: “It’s an exciting time for Britain’s premium on-trade wine market which has never been stronger. People are clearly drinking less but drinking better. This is coupled with an increasing number of quality places to eat and drink.”

“Although consumers tend to stick to styles and varieties they know and trust we are increasingly seeing them trade-up to better quality wines that cost more. Our job is to continue to entice people to try new styles and varieties from across the globe. London’s premium on-trade wine market is growing +18.4% by value year-on-year. We believe this is set to continue and that the rest of Britain can follow suit.”

Red wine’s popularity is growing, with volume increasing by an impressive +20% compared to the same period last year. Sales of rosé are increasing at an exceptional rate across the premium on-trade wine market. The Report shows rosé has become a year-round wine and accounts for one in 10 bottles of premium wine sold in gastropubs and restaurants and up overall in high-end establishments by +30% in volume over the past year.

The survey named Fiano, a dry white from the south of Italy, as the wine to watch in 2015.