Australian wine imports make further gains in China

Australia has surpassed France for the first time as China’s biggest source for bottled wine imports by value in October, although France is still leading overall imports in the first 10 months of the year.

China imported 8.42 million litres of bottled Australian wines in October worth about US$69.6 million, while its bottled French wine imports totalled US$63.76 million for 12.89 million litres, according to the latest figures revealed by China Association for Imports and Exports of Wine & Spirits.

China has already become Australia’s highest value export wine market, surpassing the US; and Australia overtaking over France in October is expected to further boost Australian wine exports to China, aided by the upcoming tariff reduction starting from 1 January next year.   

The two countries signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2015 that will see tariffs reduced over a period of five years. The current tariff on wine is 5.6%, down from an original 14% rate and by the first day next year, the tariff will be cut down to 2.8% before it’s completely scratched in 2019.

Australian brands led by Penfolds, Wolfblass, Yellow Tail are among some of the most known labels in China. “As a global wine company with origins in Australia, it is truly exciting to see the growing love that Chinese consumers have for Australian wines and the appreciation of wine in general,” commented Peter Dixon, managing director of North Asia and Global Travel Retail at Treasury Wine Estates, when speaking to dbHK. “In the past few years, TWE has revolutionised our market strategy in China and the Asia markets to expand our business and develop our brands. We are thrilled with the growing awareness and love for our brands and wines here in China –many of which are Australian icons such as Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Rawson’s Retreat, Lindeman’s, and Rosemount, just to name a few.”

But from January to October, France still leads overall bottled wine imports by volume and value with a total of US$838.8 million worth of wine imported in the first 10 months of the year, followed by Australia, Chile, Spain, Italy, the US, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Portugal, Germany, Georgia, and Canada.

China imported 601.3 million litres of wine worth about US$2.21 billion in the first 10 months of 2017, which is a 18.92% increase in volume and 15.16% increase in value year-on-year. Bottled wine imports take up roughly 91.9% of total wine imports by value; representing US$2.025 billion for a total of 442.3 million litres of wine.

In terms of spirits, during the same period, more than 58.8 million litres of spirits led by brandies were shipped to China from January to October this year, representing a 28.9% increase over the previous year, while its value grew by 39.22% to US$898.15 million, the highest so far compared with beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages.

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