Australia’s wine exports to the United Kingdom have reached their highest level in a decade, but China remains the most lucrative market for Australian winemakers for now. 

Key points:

  • Australian wine exports in 2020–21 fell 10 per cent in value, to $$2.56 billion, over those in 2019–20
  • Exports to the United Kingdom are at their highest level in 10 years
  • Excluding mainland China, Australia’s exports rose by 12 per cent in value, to $1.96 billion

Australian wine sales to several countries grew in the past financial year.

Hong Kong, in particular, jumped 111 per cent to be Australia’s fourth-largest market in value, worth $187 million. 

Wine Australia’s general manager for corporate affairs and regulation, Rachel Triggs, said the growth in exports to the UK — up 23 per cent in value and 16 per cent in volume — was particularly strong in the first half of the year.

“There was a surge in wine sales in the off-premises sales because of the COVID-19-related shutdowns of restaurants and bars as well as some exporters sending wine to market ahead of Brexit because they were concerned about the red tape they might endure after Brexit,” Ms Triggs said. 

“We are, however, seeing increases across a number of markets.

“For example, we’re already seeing a positive trend and double-digit growth in the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.”

A table shows the Wine Australia statistics

Australian wine exports declined 10 per cent in value in 2020—21, to $2.56 billion.(

Supplied: Wine Australia

)

Those increases, however, have not been enough to offset the 33 per cent drop in value to China. 

The latest Wine Australia export report has shown the effect China’s tariffs — of 107 per cent to more than 200 per cent — have had on Australia’s wine industry. 

In the six months to June this year, Australia exported just $13 million worth of wine to China, compared to $490 million over the same period last year. 

As a result, wine exports in 2020–21 declined by 10 per cent in value, to $2.56 billion overall, and export volume was down 5 per cent, to 695 million litres.

However, excluding mainland China, exports increased by 12 per cent in value to $1.96 billion and increased by 6 per cent in volume to 643 million litres.

Exports to the United States also declined 7 per cent in value, to $400 million, and by 8 per cent in volume, to 127 million litres — or 14 million 9-litre case equivalents.

Ms Triggs said that — given the amount of wine Australia had to sell was at an all-time low last year after three consecutive lower vintages in 2018, 2019, and 2020 — it was positive to see so many markets buying more Australian wine.

“China was a fabulous market for a lot of exporters and a lot of exporters did really well there and they were getting really good money for their product,” Ms Triggs said.

“But it doesn’t necessarily mean there weren’t other markets that were looking for Australian wine and that’s what we’re seeing across the globe in those increased figures in a lot of other markets.”

More Australian wines on overseas tables, just not in China
Source:
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