Australia’s wine exports rise 5%

Australian wine exports grew 5% by value over the last year, with the average value per litre growing to its highest levels in ten years, the country’s national wine body has said.

The value of exports now stands at $2.78 billion in the 12 months to March 2019, Wine Australia confirmed, with the average value per litre up 9% to $3.41.

Volumes declined by around 3% to 814 million Litres (90 million 9-litre case equivalents), which Wine Australia chief executive officer Andreas Clark described as a positive trend, as it reflected a drop in exports of the lower value end of the market.

“What we are seeing is a drop in volumes in the lower value categories and this places Australia well as the global consumer premiumises and drinks less but more expensive wines’, Clark said.

Value sales in China (including Hong Kong and Macau) now stand at $1.11 billion, up 7% in the last year and Australia now has a 29% share of the imported wine market, up from 26% last year, according to figures from the Global Trade Atlas figures quoted by Wine Australia. Volumes declined by 14% in volume to 154 million litres (17 million 9-litre case equivalents), but this was almost exclusively confined to exports in the below $2.50 per litre value segment, Wine Australia noted, reflecting both a tightening of Australian supply in this segment and the increased availability of wines in this bracket by competitors such as Chile.

Values fell in the US though, down 3% to $424 million, although Clarke said there was a positive trend in the US off-trade market, where sales of Australian wine grew 3% in value to US$521 million in the year ended December 2018.

“Even more encouraging is that Australian wine priced above US$15 per bottle has also grown by 3% according to market monitor IRI Worldwide,’ Clarke said.

The UK remained the largest market by volume at 26.8m 9L cases, and although volumes rose only 0.1%, value sales were up 4% to $388 million.

There was strong value growth in the Netherlands, which rose 26% to $43 million) Japan, up 16% to $455 million and New Zealand, up 15% to $95 million.

Regions in growth include Northeast Asia, up 8%to $1.2 billion, Europe, up 3% to $612 million, Southeast Asia, up 7% to $170 million, Oceania, up 15% to $107 million, and the Middle East, up 16% to $32 million.

Price points

Wine Australia also reported “robust growth” across the majority of price segments, with “significant growth” in the higher priced categories.

The strongest growth was recorded in the $35+ price bracket, up 86% to $35million, while the larger £20-$29.99 bracket also saw strong growth, rising 51% to $224 million.

However, the $2.49 – $9.99 bracket still represents around 68% of the total exports, worth $1891 million.

Clark said wine supplies were likely to remain tight in the short term with much of the 2018 vintage yet to hit the market and the 2019 vintage likely to be below the long-term average.

Currently, around 61% of Australia’s wine is exported, and the period saw a 16$ increase in active exporters, with 1786 Australian companies either started to export or increasing the value of their exports. This contributed around $374 million to the growth in overall value, it said, offsetting the $246 million-worth of exports lost by the 1328 exporters whose export value decreased or who ceased shipment altogether.

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