Spain remains world’s largest wine exporter

Spain has retained its reign at the top of the wine pyramid for global exports ahead of Italy and France having exported 22.8 million hectolitres of wine last year.

Harvest in Jerez

As reported by Euronews, in volume terms, the country remains significantly ahead of its nearest export rival – Italy ­– which exported 21 million hectolitres of wine last year.

France lagged behind in third place with 15 million hectolitres exported, however it leads the way in value terms, with export sales worth €9 billion last year.

Italy came second to France last year for value exports, with value sales of €6 billion, while Spain lagged behind in third place with just €2.8 billion in value sales.

Spain’s average price per litre of wine currently stands at €1.25, while French wine commands €6 per litre and Italian wine €2.78.

Spain’s low wine prices put the country behind Australia and Chile in value terms, with only South Africa selling its wine for less, at an average of €1.23 per litre.

“It is true that we are relatively far from France and Italy in value terms and this is fundamentally due to the greater experience the French and Italians have in the international markets compared to the Spanish market,” Rafael del Rey, general manager of the Spanish Wine Market Observatory, told Euronews.

Spain remains reliant on bulk wine production, with over half of its total production last year – 12.6 million hectolitres – sold as bulk wine.

If Spain wants to improve its value sales then it needs to reduce its production of bulk wine and promote its premium wines.

The country may face problems with exports this year due to the frost-ravaged 2017 harvest in Europe that severely affected regions like Ribera del Duero and saw global wine production slump to a 56-year low.

Richard Cochrane, managing director of Félix Solís UK, is candid about the fact that wine is going to run out.

“The harvest in Spain is down 30% on average and some producers might run out of wine. Ribera del Duero lost 70% of its crop from the frost, so people are starting to wonder what the last quarter of the year is going to look like,” he told db last month.

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