Australian wine exports slide

The UK remains Australia’s top destination for exports, despite volumes falling by 7% in the 12 months to March.

New figures from Wine Australia show that the UK accounts for a 36% share of Australian wine exports, down by 3% on the previous year.

The other top five destinations by volume are the US (down 5%), Canada (down 12%), China (down 22% and Germany (up 5%).

The research showed an overall drop in wine exports by value and volume over the 12 months to March.

Wine Australia explained that this was driven by a decline in bottled wine exports offsetting an increase in bulk wine exports.

Exports of all major wine styles over the year to March declined. Red wine exports declined by 6% to 433 million litres, white wine exports declined by 8% to 256m litres and sparkling wine exports declined by 10% to 13m litres.

The Australian wine sector continues to suffer at the hands of the high Australian dollar which has made Aussie wine less price competitive against other wines from regions such as South America and Europe.

‘‘The number of Australian exporters choosing to send wine in bulk to then bottle in-market rather than in Australia has increased significantly over the past few years,’’ Wine Australia said.

‘‘The reasons for this include economic, environmental and scale rationale together with meeting the requirements of some customers.

‘‘The on-going strong Australian dollar and the growing presence of buyers’ own brands, particularly in the UK, are two key drivers.’’

One positive from the research commissioned by the federal government’s export marketing body shows that Australia’s wine exports to China continue to surge, with sales rising by 23% in value over the past year to make it the nation’s fastest-growing market.

The country is continuing to show remarkable growth as the most affluent cities in China have bustling wine bars.

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