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UK helps Australian wine exports hit highest level since 2007

Published:  28 October, 2020

Global Australian wine exports were up 4% to $2.998bn in the 12 months to September 2020, with all of its top-five export markets showing growth including the UK, according to Wine Australia’s latest export report. 

The 4% value growth was matched by a 4% increase in price per litre of $3.89, but the overall volume of exports declined slightly by 0.4% to 771 million litres (85.7 million cases).

The overall export value marked the highest level since exports reached $3bn in the second half of calendar year 2007, according to Andreas Clark, CEO of Wine Australia.

"Despite the unprecedented disruption that we’ve seen in markets around the world, Australian wine export volume has held reasonably steady and it is particularly pleasing to see both the overall value and the average value of exports growing during these challenging times,” he said.

The growth in value during the year was predominantly driven by the UK and mainland China, with exports to the latter hitting the highest level since 2011, partly driven by some companies shipping products to market ahead of the impending Brexit 1 January 2021 deadline to minimise any potential disruption, according to Wine Australia.

The growth of exports to the UK was coming predominantly at below $5 per litre, which is primarily shipped as unpackaged wine. 

Overall, the most significant growth came in exports to Europe, up 16% to $678m, over-taking North America in value terms for the first time since 2011.

In terms of global exports, the three months between 1 July and 30 September showed the strongest growth, up 23% compared to the same period in 2019, as many parts of the world emerged from lockdowns.

This growth followed declines of 4% in the April to June quarter and 7% in the January to March quarter.

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been clear trends for wine consumption emerging around the world. While premiumisation has continued, there has also been a resurgence in commercial wines, and this is evident in the growth that we’ve seen in different price segments, where it was particularly strong at the low and high ends,” said Clark.   

“Different markets have had different trends. In markets such as the UK and US growth was primarily at the commercial/value end, while in China growth for premium wines has remained strong this year,” he added.

Exports in glass bottles increased by 2% in value to $2.4bn and decreased by 3% in volume to 336 million litres (37 million 9-litre case equivalents). This translated to a 5% increase in the average value of bottled exports to an equal record $7.14 per litre, due to an increase in exports at the high end of the price spectrum.

Unpackaged wine exports increased by 13% in value to $576 million and 2% in volume to 427 million litres (47 million 9-litre case equivalents), with the average value of unpackaged exports having remained high, increasing by 10% to $1.35 per litre – levels not seen since late 2004 – due to the relative short supply of Australian wine in an already constrained global supply situation, said Wine Australia.

Yesterday, Wine Australia announced it has converted its Tasting Blind Club into an online Tasting Blind Club Quiz hosted by Emma Symington MW.