A report released today warns Greece that its wine industry is being squeezed out of the market by the New World and high prices. While the domestic market continues to prosper, the report suggests that Greece is not where it should be on the global wine scene.

The report, compiled by Euromonitor, highlights the prosperous position Greece finds itself in at home. In 2002, the average Greek spent $370 on wine purchases, third only to France and Switzerland in Europe. This is in spite of a high average unit price of $15.90, higher than New Zealand, France and Italy.

Greek wine, says the report, is notable mainly for its absence from European shelves. "In addition to little marketing and consumer education of Greek wine," the report says, "this is compounded with the onslaught of 'New World' wines, which are more price competitive and have simple brand names. Many retailers claim that Westerners can be put off by the difficult pronunciation of several varieties of the indigenous wine grapes, such as Moschofilero and Assyrtiko."

The report suggests that the arrival of the Olympics next year may kick-start Greece's wine export trade. "Companies and associations, in co-operation with the State, are going headfirst into carrying out special marketing and promotional activities. This is hoped to bring Greek wine to a larger international audience as well as to serve to strengthen its image to the traditional tourist nations already familiar with Greek wine."

On the subject of price, the report says Greek wines must become more competitive. "With the standard bottle of Greek Chardonnay averaging at around £6.99 in the UK, compared with an Australian equivalent at around £4.49, it will be difficult for Greek wines to compete, particularly in the midst of the current wine glut. Thus there remains ambivalence as to whether Greece will be able to convince retailers of the value of stocking its wine," it says.

The report concludes, however, that the future looks bright for Greek winemakers if they can educate consumers about their products. "Given the evidence of demand for premium and niche brands within spirits and beer throughout Western Europe, the US and Australia, wines which offer a true difference also hold potential for growth, particularly for the more informed wine consumer," it states. "The question remains whether Greek producers will be able to maximise this marketing opportunity to its full potential."