Austria aims to boost wine exports

Austria is looking to increase the value of its wine exports by more than a third within the next five years, the managing director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board has said.

(photo: Austrian Wine Marketing Board/Vinexpo Explorer)

The country, which was announced yesterday as the first region to host Vinexpo’s new regional ‘touring’ event Vinexpo Explorer, wants to see sales grow from an estimated €143m in 2015 to around €200 by 2020, or 60 million Litre in volume.

Willi Klinger, md of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) said that the country could sell easily 10mL more wine into the export market even though it was not in the “big volume market”, and it saw the new Vinexpo Explorer as be a key driver.

“This is the potential we can reach when we do a smart policy in export,” he said. “And we have the motivation to do it.”

In 2015 Austrian wine export reached nearly 49m L with a value of around € 143m, and the trade body will be targeting growth in key Asian and American market as well as the US through the event, having seen strong growth in markets outside Europe, rising 7% in 2015, versus a 2% growth in Europe.

Germany remains Austria’s largest market by value, accounting for around 52.4% of the market in 2015, followed by Switzerland (12.8%) and the US (7.49%) after seeing sales rise 14.9%. Chinese exports fell by around 37% by value to account for 1.45% of Austria’s exports in 2015, but Belgium rose 28% by value, and 34% by volume, while the UK saw strong distribution gains, led in the off-trade, Klinger said. This rose +17.3% between 2014-15 to €4.48k, up from € 3.819k in 2014, with volumes up 12.2% to 761,000 L. The average price per Litre in the UK was one of the highest Klinger noted, at €5.64 in 2014 rising to €5.89 per Litre in 2015 – more than double Germany’s average price of  €2.15 per Litre in 2015.

“We have gained more supermarket business [in the UK] in the last three years and hope to reach 1mL of exports,” Klinger said, adding that it would keeping the high average price point steady “as we are not in the entry level business”.

‘Right time’ to grow sales

Klinger said Austria was in the right place to translate the image it had created for its wines into sales – and that Britain was a key market in this plan. The trade body is set to launch a new advertising campaign at its London tasting next month under the strapline ‘The art of wine down to earth’ with imagery rooted in the work in the vineyards.

At the launch of Vinexpo Explorer this week, Guillaume Deglise said Austria was one of the “hottest rising destination” for wine.

“You see it in top restaurants in New York, Sydney and London), but the consumer is not fully aware of the character. It is the only country producing all four colours (including orange wine), sweet whites and sparkling, so it has everything for the consumer,” he said.

Klinger admitted that it had taken more than twenty years for Austrian exports to recover from the 1985 scandal when the story broke that certain wineries had been adding a substance used in anti-freeze – diethylene-glycol – to bulk out and sweeten their wines. The industry responded by concentrated on strict quality controls, introducing measures to limit yield per hectare to protect quality, consolidating the industry and reducing the number of producers to successfully rebuild its industry and reputation.

One Response to “Austria aims to boost wine exports”

  1. Patricia says:

    …and Africa is gonna be too. Wine2africa!

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