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Bulk prices hit value of Australian wine exports to the UK as China's status grows

Published:  17 July, 2015

Shipments of Australian wine to the UK fell 1.5% in the year to the end of June as the country's winemakers saw sales to China soar.

Exports to China rose by almost a third to A$280 million, threatening the UK's position as the second biggest export market for Australian wine by value.

The UK bought A$369 million of Australian wine during the course of the year and remains the biggest volume buyer of Australian wine.

Volumes shipped to the UK were "steady" over the year but the value drop was attributed to a 10% decline in the average value of bulk wine exports

Australia's biggest value export market, the US, was also down, by 7.9% to A$415 million.

Overall, exports rose 5% to A$1.9 billion, the first time there has been a value rise since 2006/7.

Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark said Australia has seen three years of growth in premium wines with an average price above A$7.50 per litre.

Exports of the highest-priced wines, above A$50 per litre, have risen for five years and were up 62% in 2014/15, though still only account for 0.2% of all sales.

Clark said: "The value of wine exports to north east Asia was up 29% and south east Asia was up 18%.

"We ship more than half of our exports above A$7.50 per litre to Asia and the average value of these exports is A$18.49 per litre compared to A$12.29 per litre in Europe and A$11.54 per litre in North America."

He added that Wine Australia would aim to assist winemakers, regions and exporters to capitalise on premium wine opportunities through its five-year strategic plan, outlined two weeks ago.

"Our two strategic priorities are increasing the demand and price paid for Australian wine and increasing our competitiveness," he said.

"We'll be expanding our programme of activities in the critical US market including the introduction of a formal market entry programme - and we'll continue to develop the export markets in Europe, China and Asia Pacific through activities that focus on Australia's finest wines."