Australia saw the value of its wine exports fall by nearly a quarter in the last year largely due to the imposition of Chinese tariffs and lower inventory following two smaller vintages, the latest export data has shown.
In the year to September 2021, wine exports fell by 24% in value to $2.27 billion on volumes down 17% to 638 million litres, with the average value per litre down 9 % per cent to $3.56 per litre.
Exports to mainline China fell dramatically, down 77 per cent to $274 million, according to wine Australia, following the imposition of import tariffs in November 2020. Meanwhile the number of exporters shipping wine to mainland China fell from 2241 in September 2020 to 750 in September 2021.
This, along with with increased demand from UK consumers, had seen the UK overtake China as Australia’s top market in value as well as volumes. Value exports to the UK increased by 7% to $460 million, on volumes up 2% to 251 million litres, overtaking mainland China as the country’s top export market.
Meanwhile there were strong sales to neighbouring Hong Kong, up 135% to $207 million, and markets including Singapore, South Korea, Denmark, Thailand and Taiwan also showed growth.
However, sales to the US and Canada, fell by 11% and 12% respectively. to $393 million in the US, Australia’s second largest market, and $173 million in Canada, it’s fifth. Volumes to North America also fell.
Wine Australia general manager corporate affairs and regulation Rachel Triggs noted that the overall declines not only reflected the challenges that the country’s wine sector had faced over the last year, but also the increased demand at the very end of last year, which had affected inventory levels of the 2020 harvest.
“The decline of exports that we’re seeing now was amplified by the fact that there was a large increase in exports in September and October 2020, driven by exporters shipping wine into mainland China ahead of tariffs being imposed, into the UK ahead of the Brexit transition conclusion, and a surge in demand for Australian wine in the UK and US during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Triggs explained.
“This front loading of exports led to the majority of 2020 vintage wines being shipped earlier than usual resulting in the lowest inventory levels in 10 years coming into the 2021 calendar year.”