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Global wine markets: China shines as Brexit Britain picks up wooden spoon

Published:  13 November, 2018

The second annual ProWein Business Report looking at the attractiveness of international export markets for wine has placed China in pole position for the first time.

The UK, meanwhile, languishes as “the country with the weakest current situation and the lowest expectations of the future”, according to the survey, which was conducted by Geisenheim University on behalf of the ProWein wine fair organisers.

Based on the “subjective” feedback from 2,300 trade respondents in 46 countries, including growers/producers, importers, wholesalers and end retailers, the survey asks participants to feedback on international wine markets and economic trends, claiming to be the biggest of its type in the world.

China has risen from 9th position in the first ProWein Business Report in 2017, buoyed by rising import demand and the value of exports to the country.

In descending order of attractiveness to exporters, Japan, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, USA, Canada and Australia filled the next six rankings, with Canada and Australia having risen into the top 7 since 2017.

The main beneficiaries in terms of exports to China were given as Australia, France and Chile.

Russia and Brazil also featured alongside China in terms of the strongest relative increase in market attractiveness compared with 2017, with India cited as the number one emerging export market for winemakers from the New World, completing a picture of BRIC country ascendancy.

Turning the spotlight onto the UK, the Report said: “the attractiveness of the UK wine market has deteriorated further while the perceived risk has gone up”.

The Report cited rising alcohol tax, diminishing retail space for wine due to tough competition between discounters and traditional retailers (making the market difficult for producers), and uncertainty surrounding Brexit as the main factors for this lack of UK attractiveness to exporters worldwide.

The competition faced by the mature UK market in retaining and attracting the best of wines from around the world was further highlighted by findings that eight out of 10 producers surveyed said they are planning to expand their export activities to new territories in the next three years, with all three biggest producers (Spain, France, Italy) looking to compensate for declining domestic consumption in saturated markets.

This, however, suggests ample wine on the world market to meet current global demand.

Meanwhile, around half of retailers that will be attending ProWein said they planned to expand their range with wines from new origins, with Portugal, South Africa and Argentina listed by 1 in 5 specialist as the most favoured potential additions to existing ranges.

Dusseldorf-based ProWein has grown to become the pre-eminent global wine fair and plans to continue to commission its Business Report on an annual basis in conjunction with the Institute for Wine and Beverage Business Research at the Geisenheim University as a barometer on the global wine world.