Premium wine exports soar, but coronavirus looms

05 February, 2020 by James Atkinson

Exports of higher valued Australian wines reached a record value of $1.1 billion in the 12 months to December 2019, according to Wine Australia.

Wine Australia said the total value of Australian wine exports grew by three per cent to $2.91 billion, the second highest for a calendar year, driven by wines priced above $10 per litre free on board (FOB).

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“Australian wine companies have been very active in our export markets and the value of exports has now increased for six consecutive years,” commented Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark.

The average value of exported wine increased by 18 per cent to $3.91 per litre FOB, the highest level since 2006.

Clark said a decline in export volumes was heavily weighted towards lower price segments, and lower 2018 and 2019 vintages meant there was less wine available for export in 2019.

“Looking ahead into 2020, we anticipate that coronavirus will have an impact on sales, particularly to China, but at this stage it is difficult to predict the degree of that impact,” he said.

“Also, our first concern is people’s wellbeing in China and elsewhere and there will be time down the track to consider other impacts.”

Bottled wine shipments increased by seven per cent in value to $2.4 billion and decreased in volume by 5 per cent to 342 million litres (38 million 9-litre case equivalents).

The increase in value was due to a 13 per cent rise in the average value of bottled wine to a calendar year record of $7.04 per litre.

Unpackaged wine exports decreased by 12 per cent in value to $488 million and 18 per cent in volume to 395 million litres.

Australia exported wine to 120 markets last year, with Asia the growth centre. Exports to Northeast Asia increased by 11 per cent to $1.37 billion, with exports to Southeast Asia up 17 per cent to $200 million.

The top five destinations by value were:

  1. China (including Hong Kong and Macau) was up 12 per cent to $1.28 billion
  2. USA, down 1 per cent to $419 million
  3. UK, down 9 per cent to $352 million
  4. Canada, down 13 per cent to $183 million; and
  5. Singapore, up 18 per cent to $105 million.

“While the total value of wine imported by China has declined, Australia has consolidated its position as the number one imported country of origin ahead of France,” Wine Australia said.

“Australia’s export value to China continued growing in 2019 while the value of French imports continued the decline that commenced in 2018.

“Australia now holds a 35 per cent value share of total wine imports compared with France, with 29 per cent.”