Australian wine exports decrease, reflecting challenging year

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Australia Wine

Australian wine exports decreased by 24% in value and 17% in volume in the year ended September 2021, according to Wine Australia’s latest Export Report.

The decline has been attributed to a significant decrease in exports to mainland China, following the imposition of import tariffs on Australian wine. Other factors have also come into play, however: there is less wine available due to low inventory levels from small vintages between 2018–2020; while COVID-19 restrictions have led to shipping delays. 

While the 2021 Australian vintage crush was a record size, it is expected to take some time for the impact on export volumes to be realised with the majority of the 2021 vintage wines expected to be shipped over the next two quarters.

Tariffs, shipping delays and 

Wine exports decreased by 24% in value to $2.27bn and 17% in volume to 638 million liters.

“The decline of exports that we’re seeing now was amplified by the fact that there was a large increase in exports in September and October 2020, driven by exporters shipping wine into mainland China ahead of tariffs being imposed, into the UK ahead of the Brexit transition conclusion, and a surge in demand for Australian wine in the UK and US during the COVID-19 pandemic,”​ said Wine Australia General Manager Corporate Affairs and Regulation Rachel Triggs.

“This front loading of exports led to the majority of 2020 vintage wines being shipped earlier than usual resulting in the lowest inventory levels in 10 years coming into the 2021 calendar year.”

Excluding mainland China, however, exports actually increased by 9% in value to $1.99bn and decreased by 5% in volume to 618 million litres. Several destinations recorded strong value growth in wine exports, including the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Denmark, Thailand and Taiwan.

wine australia infographic oct 2021

Reports suggest that worldwide shipping delays, linked to COVID-19 restrictions, have also impacted exports within the 12 months ended September 2021. International logistics company Hillebrand recently reported shipping lines around the world are lacking capacity and there are major delays at ports, leading to worst ever schedule reliability when combined with current record levels of ocean freight.

Despite the historic importance of the Chinese market, Australian wine is exported to 113 markets: showing that exporters continue to diversify their business models.

“For example, there was an increase in the number of exporters to the US; 269 exporters shipped wine to the market, which is the highest number of exporters since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009.”

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