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Australian UK wine exports continue to rise

Published:  29 April, 2021

Australian wine exports to the UK continued to rise in the last 12 months, with both value and volume in double-digit growth.

For the 12 months ended March 2021, value increased 33% to AU$461m while volume rose 21% to 264 million litres (29.3 million 9-litre case equivalents), according to Wine Australia’s latest Export Report released today.  

The growth extended the UK’s lead as the biggest destination for Australian wine exports by volume, and saw it jump over the USA into second place by value. 

In the same period, the average value received for Australian wine in the UK increased by 10% to AU$1.75 per litre, the highest level in a decade.

Remaining “resilient despite headwinds”, total Australian wine exports declined 4% to AU$2.77bn, compared with the previous corresponding period, driven primarily by the toll taken by high Chinese tariffs 

Export volume declined 1% to 724 million litres (80 million 9 litre case equivalents) while the average price per litre for wine exports declined 3% to AU$3.82 free on board (FOB).

The decline was due principally to a “steep decline” in exports to mainland China as well as the cumulative effects of three consecutive lower vintage in Australia leading to less volume available to export, said Andreas Clark, CEO, Wine Australia.

“Notwithstanding the impact of China’s tariffs, we were still looking at a potential downturn in exports over this period simply due to the supply situation,” he said. 

Exports to China for the December 2020 to March 2021 period were just AU$12m compared to AU$325m in the comparable period a year ago, he added.

“As the tariffs apply to product in bottles under two litres, the decline in exports to China was mainly in bottled exports. This, along with increased unpackaged shipments to other markets such as the UK, resulted in a drop in the share of bottled exports in the export mix, from 46% of total volume in the 12 months ended March 2020 to 41% in the same period in 2021. This led to the decline in the overall average value of exports,” he said. 

On a more positive note, Clark said there had been significant growth in exports to Europe, including the UK, which was up 23% to AU$710m, the highest value in a decade.

‘There was also growth to North America, up 5% to AU$628m, and Oceania, up 7% to AU$112m.

If exports to mainland China were excluded for the past 12 months there had been positive growth in export value with a 10% growth to AU$1.9bn and 8% in volume to 646 million litres (71.8 million cases), according to Clark.