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Oz wine exports to UK highest in a decade

Published:  21 July, 2021

Australian wine exports to the UK reached their highest level in a decade during the 2020–21 financial year, according to the latest Wine Australia Export Report released today.

The value of exports to the UK rose 23% to $472m during the year, while volume increased 16% 269 million (30 million nine-litre case equivalents), making the UK the biggest destination by volume and the second by value.

The growth in exports to the UK was much stronger in the first half of the year, due to the surge in wine sales in the off-trade sector spurred by the Covid related shuttering of the on-trade as well as some exporters sending wine into the market ahead of Brexit, said Wine Australia.  

Exports to the UK increased by 40% to $255m in the first half of the financial year and by 8% to $218m in the second half. 

While growth in the second half was at a much lower rate, the growth in Quarter four (up 10%) was stronger than Quarter three (up 6%).

In contrast, overall Australian wine exports declined by 10% in value to $2.56bn compared with the previous financial year, while export volume declined by 5% to 695 million litres (77 million nine-litre case equivalents).

The key factors in the declines were the downturn in exports to mainland China following the imposition of tariffs and the cumulative effects of three consecutive lower vintages in 2018, 2019 and 2020, which meant there was less wine available to export, said Rachel Triggs, Wine Australia, general manager corporate affairs and regulation. 

The average price per litre for wine exports declined by 5% to $3.69 free on board (FOB).

“The decline in the overall average value was due to a drop in the share of bottled exports; from 45% of the share of volume in 2019-20 to 39% in 2020-21,” said Triggs. 

This again, she added, was an impact of the mainland China market as it had predominantly been a bottled wine market, and also the growth in exports to the UK which was dominated by unpackaged exports which were bottled in-market.

“Exports increased to the UK, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong by a combined $240m, but they did not offset the decline in exports to mainland China,” said Triggs.

“However, excluding mainland China, exports increased by 12% in value to $1.96bn and increased by 6% in volume to 643 million litres.”

The most significant growth came in exports to Europe (including the UK), up 18% to $724m, the highest value since 2010-11. 

There was also growth to South East Asia, up 14% to $207m and Oceania, up 45 to $107m. 

However, the growth to these destinations was offset by the decline to Northeast Asia (which includes mainland China), down 29% to $909m, as well as to North America down 5% to $586m.

By value, the top five markets were mainland China, UK, US, Hong Kong and Canada, while by volume they were UK, US, Mainland China, Canada and Germany.