Figures released yesterday show a healthy rise in Spanish wine exports. The country's wine federation FEV reported an increase in exports in the first nine months of this year of 27% to over 9m hectolitres.

Spain looks on course to beat previous years' production levels. In the last few years annual exports have totalled around 10.3m hectolitres. Two-thirds of the country's exports are to only seven countries, particularly the UK and Germany.

The rise is primarily due to a rise in sales of bulk wines. The average price of wine has fallen by an average of 16% in spite of the increase in sales. Sales of quality wine have actually decreased.