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Aussie wine exports reach highest value in a decade

Published:  16 April, 2018

Total export of Australian wine increased 16% to $2.65 billion in the past year – the highest value in a decade, according to data released by Wine Australia today.

In the same period, volume sales increased 10% to a “near-record” level of 844 million litres, or 94 million nine litre case equivalents.

The value growth was driven by an average 5% increase per litre to $3.14, while the value of bottled wine exports increased 15% to $2.15 billion - the highest value since 2009, according to the new data (MAT to March, 2018).

The average value of bulk wine also increased - up 8% to $1.05 per litre - also the highest value since 2009.

Wine Australia said the “high quality of Australian wine plus historically low Northern Hemisphere harvests” were driving the demand for Australian wine exported in bulk containers, leading to growth in both volume - up 10% to 462 million litres with the total value of exported bulk wine up 19% to $486 million.

‘Every country in Australia’s top 10 bulk wine destinations recorded an increase in average value, especially Germany, the largest importer of wine in the world, where average values for bulk wine increased by 20% from $0.87 to $1.05 per litre,” said Andreas Clark, CEO, Wine Australia.

In addition, higher value wine exports grew substantially with exports of wine priced above $10 per litre reaching a new peak of $779 million during the period.

Exports to the UK - Australia’s largest export destination by volume, increased in value by 9% to $373 million and by 8% in volume to 241 million litres, with average value increasing slightly by 1% to $1.55 per litre.

In the UK off-trade, Australian sales increased 2% in value in 2017, maintaining the nation’s long-held number one position in the UK retail market, according to the data.

Exports to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, increased by 51% to $1.04 billion driven by wine tariffs having dropped again in January 2018, in line with the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement.

“Mainland China has now overtaken the US to become Australia’s second largest export market by volume. Pleasingly there was very strong growth at all price points as imported wine becomes more approachable and is increasingly consumed by middle-class drinkers and seen as suitable for consumption at informal gatherings and while relaxing at home,” said Clark.

Looking ahead, “excellent vintage conditions” in Australia would sustain the sector’s growth as the relatively cool, dry summer had produced high-quality grapes, said Clark, adding the plans to remove the wine tariffs completely in January 2019 would provide Australian wine exporters with a competitive advantage over key producers such as France, Italy and Spain.