The Australian wine category is suffering in the US and UK

The Australian wine category is suffering in the US and UK

Export volumes of Australian wine fell by 6% in the last year, but the average value of wine being shipped rose slightly, latest figures reveal. 

Total export volumes fell to 677m litres in the 12 months to the end of March, according to Wine Australia's Wine Export Approval Report, published today (16 April). Export sales by value showed a similar drop, down by 5.2% to AUD1.75bn (US$1.6bn).  

Exports of bottled wine fell 11% to 287m litres, while bulk exports slid 1% to 383m litres. Red wines suffered the most, with exports down 9% to 380m litres, while white wine shipments were flat at 283m litres. 

However, the group said the average value of Australian wine exports rose by 1% to AUD2.59 per litre, due mainly to an increase in the average value of bottled wine to AUD4.68. 

The US, Australian wine's second largest market by volume, saw a 21% drop in volumes to 159.9m litres in the 12 months. Sales by value to the US, the biggest market in this respect, fell by 8.7% to AUD423.5m. The average value of exports to the US however rose by 15% to AUD2.65. Explaining the drop in volumes, Wine Australia pointed to three consecutive record harvests in the US, meaning there was less need to fill gaps in domestic demand. 

Export volumes to the UK, the largest market by this measurement, slipped by 2% to 244.8m litres. Sales by value in the 12 months fell by 5.3% to AUD373.5m. Bulk exports to the UK rose by 4% to 207m litres and now accounts for 84% of all Australian wine shipped to the country. Bottled exports fell by 26% to 38m litres. The AUD7.50 to AUD9.99 segment saw the strongest growth in the UK, with volumes up 29% to 1.4m litres.  

Australian exports to China also suffered, with volumes down 11.8% and sales falling by 10.5% to AUD217.1m in the year. Wine Australia said the austerity measures by China's Government had affected the “mechanics of the imported wine sector”. 

Bright spots however were Russia, Hong Kong and Finland, which all saw a significant rise in export volumes and sales. 

Wine Australia’s chief executive, Andreas Clark, said: “While the decline in the volume of Australian wine exports to many of our major markets is a concern, it is positive to see that the average value of Australian wine exports has increased in many of our key markets.” 

To read a full breakdown of the Top 10 markets by volume and value, click here