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Australia selling less wine abroad, though sales are growing in value

By RJ Whitehead , 15-May-2014

While Australian wine exports might be rising in value terms, this supposed good news comes on the back of significantly reduced volumes, according to the industry’s government promoter.

In the 12 months to the end of March 2014, the average yield of wine exports continued to rise—this time by 1% to A$1.75bn (US$1.64bn)—while the total quantity of bottles shipped shrank by 6% to 677m litres, Wine Australia noted in its latest report on export business.

The value growth is possible due mainly to a 6% increase in the average value of bottled wine to A$4.68 (US$4.39) per litre.

However, Wine Australia’s chief executive, Andreas Clark, believes the figures are positive for producers with increased volume and value at the higher end of the market reflecting increasing international demand for higher-quality Australian wines. 

High-end growth

This, Clark said, shows the industry’s efforts to create interest in Australian wines at the higher end of the market were achieving cut-through.

While the decline in the volume of Australian wine exports to many of our major markets is a concern, it is positive to see that the average value of Australian wine exports has increased in many of our key markets” Clark said.

According to Wine Australia figures, more exporters recorded volume increases than those who saw declines.

There are some positive developments that show the industry’s combined efforts to create greater awareness of the quality, diversity and regionality of Australian wine were starting to produce some tangible results,” said Clark.

Bottled exports above A$5 (US$4.69) per litre increased by 1% in volume to 66m litres valued at A$644m (US$604m), with the average value of exports in this segment rising to a record A$9.57 (US$8.97) per litre.

US up, UK and China down

In the US, the average value of Australian exports increased by 15%. US exports at above A$7.50 (US$7.03) per litre increased by 6% to 4m litres, and the average value in this segment also grew by 6% to a record A$13.32 (US$12.48) per litre.

Export volumes to the UK declined in line with the overall decline in British wine consumption. However, the average value of bottled and bulk exports to the UK increased.

In Asia, Exports to China declined 12% to 37m litres, valued at A$217m (US$203m). The austerity measures on government bodies there have continued to impact on the mechanics of the imported wine sector, said Clarke. 

As a result of this, we encourage Australian wine companies to work with their importers and distributors on long-term, brand-building strategies in China. This will help ensure that Australian wine maintains the highest average value per litre of the eight largest imported wine countries now and into the future.”

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