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Wine exports continue overall decline, but positive signs are emerging

Market Bulletin | Issue 269
26 Jul 2022
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In the 2021–22 financial year, Australian wine exports declined by 10 per cent in volume to 625 million litres and the average value fell by 10 per cent to $3.33 per litre FOB1, leading to a 19 per cent decline in value to $2.08 billion2, according to Wine Australia’s latest Export Report.

The significant reduction in exports to mainland China was the key driver behind the overall decline in exports. The on-going impact of the pandemic – including severe shipping delays and increased freight costs – and rising inflation, business costs and interest rates also made the trading environment unprecedentedly challenging for Australian exporters. 

On a positive, over the past few months, the Australian dollar has depreciated against the US dollar which assists in making Australian wine more price competitive, particularly in the United States (US) market.

Despite the challenges, when excluding mainland China from the data, exports to the rest of the world increased by 5 per cent in value to $2.06 billion (see Figure 1). With volume declining by 3 per cent to 619 million litres, the value growth for the rest of the world was driven by a 9 per cent increase in average value to $3.32 per litre. The loss in value of exports to mainland China, from its peak in the 12 months ended October 2020 to the latest 12-month, has been $1.23 billion. In comparison, over the same time period, exports to the rest of the world have increased by $247 million. 

The key contributors to the value growth included Singapore, the US, Malaysia, Thailand, India and New Zealand.

Figure 1: Value of Australian exports over time – mainland China and Rest of the World

The growth in value of exports (excluding mainland China) has come predominantly in premium price points ($5 or more per litre) more than offsetting a decline in the value of exports at the commercial/value end (below $5 per litre) (see Figure 2). 

Figure 2: Value of exports by price segment (excluding mainland China) ($ million FOB)

This reflects the wine sales trends in many markets around the globe, which have seen a downward trend in commercial/value sales (less than US$10 per bottle retail) and sales growth in premium and above segments (US$10 or more per bottle retail). According to IWSR, the commercial/value segment (below US$10 per bottle retail) has been in decline while the premium and above segment (US$10 or more per bottle retail) has been steadily rising for at least the past 15 years (Figure 2). The IWSR expects these trends to continue out to 2026 with commercial/value sales forecast to decline by 2 per cent per annum and premium and above sales forecast to grow by 8 per cent per annum (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Global wine market by price segment (source IWSR)

Excluding mainland China, exports below $5 per litre accounted for just over half the value of exports but declined by 7 per cent during the year to $1.06 billion. The UK accounted for over 80 per cent of the decline at below $5 per litre and this was mainly unpackaged exports. In contrast, there was growth in exports in all price segments at $5 or more per litre, except at $200 or more per litre. The strongest growth came at $10 or more litre, up 32 per cent to $658 million. 

A number of markets contributed to growth in this segment, including Singapore, the US, Malaysia, Thailand, the UK, South Korea, Indonesia, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan and Canada. Still red wine accounted for 92 per cent of the value of exports at $10 or more per litre and was the growth driver for this price segment. This is critical as the decline in exports to mainland China was predominantly still red wine. Off much smaller bases, still white wine and rosé also grew strongly in this price segment.

In 2021–22, Australian companies exported wine to 113 destination markets. The most significant growth came from exports to Southeast Asia, up 51 per cent to $314 million, but also to North America (up 5 per cent to $612 million) and the Middle East (up 48 per cent to $20 million). This growth was offset by a decline in exports to Northeast Asia, down 64 per cent to $328 million, and Europe, down 9 per cent to $658 million.

In 2021–22, still red wine exports decreased by 26 per cent in value to $1.39 billion. The driver of this decline was the dramatic decrease in exports to mainland China, which was mainly still red wine. Excluding mainland China, the value of still red wine exports increased by 6 per cent to $1.37 billion, on the back of a 13 per cent increase in average value to $4.22 per litre. 

The UK is the biggest destination by value for still red wine exports, but exports declined by 19 per cent to $239 million. The United States is closing in on top spot for still red wine exports, with value up 10 per cent to $237 million. Other destinations that recorded growth in still red wine exports were Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia.

Still white wine exports increased by 7 per cent in value to $579 million. The US was the number one still white wine destination and exports increased by 10 per cent to $183 million. The UK was in clear second place and exports grew by 5 per cent to $165 million. Other destinations to record growth in white wine exports included Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Denmark and South Korea.

The volume share of still red wine fell from 57 per cent in 2020–21 to 53 per cent in 2021–22, while the still white wine share increased from 38 per cent to 43 per cent. The red wine value share declined from 74 per cent to 67 per cent, while the share for whites increased from 21 per cent to 28 per cent, driven by the 5 per cent increase in average value for whites compared with the 11 per cent decrease for reds.

The Export Report June 2022 can be downloaded here. To explore the data further, statistics can be found on the Wine Australia Export Report dashboard, which can be extensively searched.

1. FOB refers to the ‘Free on board' value of the wine, where the point of valuation is where goods are placed on board the international carrier, at the border of the exporting country. The FOB value includes production and other costs up until placement on the international carrier but excludes international insurance and transport costs. All average values quoted in this report are FOB unless otherwise indicated.

2. Unless otherwise stated all values are given in Australian dollars.

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.