Historic high in wine trade in 2021 – but uncertainty for 2022

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/tommyleewalker
Pic:getty/tommyleewalker

Related tags: Wine, Export, International trade

Global wine exports reached a historic high in both volume and value in 2021: but global supply chain disruptions and rising energy prices will create challenges for the industry in 2022.

Exports rose 4% in volume terms to reach 111.6mhl in 2021, while value shot up 16% to reach €34.3bn ($36bn), according to figures released by the international wine organization OIV.

In volume terms, Spain was the largest exporter in 2021 with 23.0 mhl, accounting for 21% of the global market. Most other wine producers also saw export growth: the largest contributors being Spain, (up 2.8 mhl from 2020), Italy (up 1.5 mhl), South Africa (up 1.2 mhl), and France (up 1.1 mhl / 2020).

Among top exporting  countries, the only reductions in travel volumes came from  Australia  (down 1.3 mhl), Argentina (down 0.6 mhl), and the US (down 0.3 mhl).

In terms of value,  France confirmed its position as the top wine exporter in 2021, with exports worth €11.1bn . Almost all major wine exporters recorded significant rises in value, except Australia that has seen a decline of €435m compared to 2020.

The largest increases in export value came from wine giants France (up €2.3bn ), Italy (up €786m), and Spain (up €249m).

While the US saw export values decrease by 8.9%, export value rose by 6.8% to €1.2bn.

In 2021, Germany, USA and UK made up the top 3 wine importers: accounting for 38% of world imports in both volume and value.

Export formats

In terms of formats, bottled wine (at up to 2L) represents 53% of trade volumes globally and 69% in terms of value. The category has increased 6% in volume and 13% in value.

Growth is more pronounced, however, in sparkling wine: which has increased in both volume (up 22%) and value (up 35%). This is attributed to the reopening of HoReCa channels and resumption of social gatherings and celebratory events in 2021.

Bulk wine (10L+) is the second largest export category by volume: with increases of 5% in 2021 but a decrease in value of 5%.

Bag-in-Box formats, containers sized 2L-10L, represent around 4% of global export volume and 2% in value. Exports decreased 8% in volume and 1% in value in 2021.

Uncertainty for 2022

However, the scenario for 2022 looks uncertain due to the turbulence posed by the global supply chain crisis, the war in Ukraine, the threat from covid variants and increasing energy prices

The COVID-19 pandemic initially slowed the global supply chain as manufacturers were forced to suspend work until safety precautions were enforced. In 2021 the wine sector was back on the path to recovery, with the OIV saying that tech solutions like e-commerce meant it faired better than other sectors during lockdowns.

But new COVID-19 variants continue to threaten the industry and result in an uneven recovery worldwide: with a surge in cases in China leading to lockdowns in parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine has set off a new series of supply-chain bottlenecks, as well as putting unprecedented pressure on the global energy market which was already experiencing a rise in prices in 2021. Sanctions imposed by the EU on Russia add further pressure.

Russia is the 10th​ largest wine importer in the world, accounting for around 2% of world imports, and is the 8th​ largest wine market in terms of sales value. It imported 3.7mhl in 2021: representing growth of 6% in volume.

Trade disruption between the EU and Russia is expected to hit mega-wine producers France, Italy and Spain the hardest.

“The new challenge in 2022 is to see how the sector will cope with this new situation, where global supply chain patterns have to be reconsidered and energy prices create an inflationary pressure on consumer”,​ says the OIV.

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