Australias wine sector endured a tough 2013 compared to the prior year

Australia's wine sector endured a tough 2013 compared to the prior year

Exports sales of Australian wine fell by volume and value last year as many markets remained “challenging” for the country's producers, new figures reveal. 

In its latest report, Wine Australia said that overall volumes shipped abroad, including bulk and bottled, fell 6% to 678m litres in the year to December 2013. Sales by value in the 12 months slipped 5% to AUD1.76bn.

Export volumes were down in four of the country's top five overseas markets, the report found. 

The UK, Australia's biggest export market by volume, posted a 7% drop in volumes to 238m litres. Value sales in the UK were also down, by 8.2% to AUD369m.

In the US, Australia's biggest market by value, volumes fell 11% to 174m litres, while value sales dropped 2.5% to AUD440m. 

Canada was the only top five market to register an increase in volumes, with China and Germany making up the rest of the top five markets, which account for 79% of volumes.

Globally, the country's bottled wine exports declined at a faster rate, down 8% to 298m litres, while bulk exports declined by 4% to 373m litres, Wine Australia said. 

Andreas Clark, Wine Australia’s acting chief executive said the performance of Australian wine in key markets shows that the operating environment remains “challenging”.

“The decline in bottled Australian wine exports across higher price segments in many of our major markets is a concern and shows the industry has a long way to go to improve returns for winemakers and grapegrowers and achieve long-term profitability,” Clark said. 

However, on a positive note, the group said the average value of exports increased by 1% to A$2.59 per litre, due mainly to a 3% rise in the average value of bottled wine to AUD4.58 per litre.

The overall volume decline was also predominantly at the lower-end of the market with exports at under AUD5 per litre declining by 7% to 610m litres. In contrast, exports at above AUD5 per litre segment increased marginally to 68m litres.

Red wine exports were down by 11% to 382m litres, while white wine volumes rose 2% to 282m litres across the year.

Expert analysis

The Future of the Wine Market in Australia to 2017

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The report presents detailed data on the Wine consumption trends in Australia, providing historic and forecast consumption volume and value at market and category level, alcoholic strength (Fortified more