Exports of Spanish wine to the US increased by 18 per cent in value and 13 per cent in volume during 2002, according to the latest information from the Spanish wine industry association, FEV.
According to a report from Europa Press, Spanish wine exports to the US account for around 5 per cent of all wine sales there, and FEV is hoping that the continued growth in sales to the massive North American market can be maintained throughout 2003.
Despite economic concerns in the US and the prospect of war in the Middle East, FEV believes that the main factor which is likely to curb growth in Spanish wine exports to the US is simply the production and distribution capacities of Spain's winemakers - areas on which the industry has been working for many years in a bid to drive export sales.
France is the main wine exporter to the US, accounting for around 40 per cent of the market, followed by Italy with 25 per cent, Australia with 13 per cent and Chile with 6 per cent. Spain is in fifth place, ahead of Portugal and Germany with 2 per cent each.
While data for December is not yet available, Europa Press said that FEV is predicting overall export sales for 2002 of around €1.5 billion, a 2 per cent drop compared to the previous year as a result of poor economic conditions and increasing competition from other producers, in particular Australia, Chile and the US.
Germany, the UK and the US are the main markets for Spanish wines in value terms, while in volume terms Portugal, France, Germany and the UK top the list.