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Demand for premium Australian wine drives rise in exports

Published:  29 April, 2015

Exports of Australian wine rose in volume and value terms last year, driven by higher priced wines, the latest figures from the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) show.

Volumes rose 3.6% in the 12 months to March 2015 to 711mL, with value sales also up 3.9% to Aus $1.85 billion, and the average value of exports remained steady at A$2.60 per L. The report also recorded a record number of Australian wine products being exported, up 6.6% to 17,387.

AGWA's Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the export figures reflected a renewed interest in Australian wines globally. There was particular boost for wines above Aus$7.50, he said, which had a value share of 27%, despite only have 5% of the total export volume. This had driven the average value of bottle wine to its highest level in a decade, up 4.7% to Aus$4.87pL. Premium wines above Aus$10 hit a high of A$374 million up 5%.

"Some of the strongest growth is seen in the premium price segments and we'll be continuing to champion Australia's finest wines in our global marketing activities," he said.

He added that the depreciation of the Australian dollar was also having an effect.

By contract, exports of bulk wine continued to fall, down 4.7% by value to Aus$0.97 per L, driven by a 19% rise in demand for lower priced wines up 19%, while wines priced above Aus$1 fell 11%.

Exports of Australian wine to the UK increased by 2% by volume to 251mL and is worth around Aus$371m. The AGWA attributed much of the volume growth to the UK's position as a trading hub for Australian bulk wine across key European markets, but also credited the improved economic outlook in its biggest export market. However it also noted gains in the more expensive price segments, with wines over Aus $ 10 up 46% to 1.2mL, halting a six-year decline, and the average value of bottled exports was at its highest since 2008, up 5% to Aus$4.13 per L.

However, there were declines in its second biggest market, the USA, down 4% to 1bn L in the 12 months to February 2015. Volume declines came from bottled wine, down 4% to 110mL, while bulk wine rose by the same percentage.