The UK is the sixth largest wine market in the world. It is almost entirely dependent on imported wine, despite a flourishing niche sparkling wine sector, and is the world’s second largest wine importer.
The UK: Australia’s largest wine market by volume
The UK is the sixth largest wine market in the world. It is almost entirely dependent on imported wine, despite a flourishing niche sparkling wine sector, and is the world’s second largest wine importer. In 2016 the UK imported just under 1.4 billion litres of wine, valued at over $US 4 billion.
Australia is the second largest source of wine imports into the UK by volume and third largest by value, while the UK is Australia’s largest export market in volume terms, accounting for approximately 28 per cent of total exported wine volume in 2017. Australia ships 80 per cent of wine to the UK in bulk for bottling in market, which reduces the average value of exports and means the UK is only Australia’s third largest market by value.
Australia is the number one country of origin in the UK off-trade market, with twice the market share of its nearest rivals, France and Italy. Of the top 14 brands in the UK off-trade by value in 2017, six were Australian (IRI).
There are some challenges in the UK market, including the financial and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit, increasing excises on alcohol, retail consolidation and a slow decline in per capita wine consumption. On the other hand, wine sales at the premium end of the market are growing and there is growth potential for Australia in this segment, as well as in the on-trade and independent channels, where we are under-represented.
Recent research by Wine Intelligence has found that the popularity of alternative varieties is growing in the UK market. Some of the alternative varieties and blends showing growth in exports in 2017 include Malbec, Viognier/Roussanne, Viognier/Chardonnay, Durif, Verdelho, Tempranillo and Montepulciano.
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