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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jim Budd

German wine's long decline in the UK continues. Figures just released by the German Wine Institute show that imports to the UK fell 8% by volume during 2002 and 2.9% by value. In 2002, we imported 845,658hl compared to 919,452hl the year before for E103,045,000 against E106,090,000 in 2001. However, the average price per hectolitre rose slightly from E116 to E122. Worryingly for German producers, the much-heralded Classic and Selection initiative appears to have had a minimal impact. The only example of a Classic wine with a listing is the Mertes Riesling Classic. There are no listings of the more expensive Selection wines. A total of 99.7% of all German wine still sells in the UK at less than 5. Over the past year there has been a slight upwards price movement at the lower end. The proportion of wine for less than 3 has dropped from 65.8% to 62.4%, while in the 3.01-3.50 sector it is now 21.1% (18.3% in 2001) and, at 3.51-4, 11.6% (10.6%). However, the proportion between 4.01 and 5 has fallen slightly. Fortunately for the German wine industry, there is better news elsewhere. Overall exports rose by 7.4% in value for a very small drop in volume. Exports to the United States continue to grow, especially by value, which was up by 21.4% against a corresponding 7.8% increase in volume.