More Australian wines on overseas tables, just not in China

Australian wine exports to the UK have reached their highest level in a decade, but China remains the most lucrative market for Australian winemakers for now.

Sales of Australian wine to various countries grew during the past financial year.

Hong Kong, in particular, rose 111 percent to become Australia’s fourth-largest market, worth $187 million.

Wine Australia’s general manager for business affairs and regulation, Rachel Triggs, said export growth to the UK – up 23 percent in value and 16 percent in volume – was particularly strong in the first half of the year.

“There was a strong increase in wine sales in the [off-premises sales] due to the COVID-19 related shutdowns of [restaurants and bars] as well as some exporters sending wine to the market before Brexit because they were concerned about the red tape they might face post-Brexit,” said Ms Triggs.

“However, we are seeing increases in a number of markets.

“For example, we are already seeing a positive trend and double-digit growth in the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan.”

A table shows the statistics of Wine Australia
Australian wine exports fell 10 percent in value to $2.56 billion in 2020-21.(

Delivered: Wine Australia


However, those increases were not enough to offset the 33 percent drop in value to China.

Wine Australia’s most recent export report shows the effect China’s tariffs – from 107 percent to over 200 percent – have had on the Australian wine industry.

In the six months to June this year, Australia exported just $13 million worth of wine to China, compared to $490 million in the same period last year.

As a result, wine exports declined 10 percent in value in 2020-21, to $2.56 billion in total, and export volume declined 5 percent to 695 million liters.

Excluding mainland China, exports rose 12 percent in value to $1.96 billion and volume grew 6 percent to 643 million litres.

Exports to the United States also fell 7 percent in value to $400 million, and 8 percent in volume to 127 million liters — or 14 million 9-liter equivalents.

Ms Triggs said that – given the amount of wine Australia had to sell was at an all-time low last year after three consecutive lower vintages in 2018, 2019 and 2020 – it was positive to see so many markets buying more Australian wine.

“China has been a fantastic market for many exporters and many exporters have been doing really well there and getting really good money for their product,” said Ms. Triggs.

“But it doesn’t necessarily mean there weren’t other markets looking for Australian wine and that’s what we’re seeing around the world in those higher numbers in many other markets.”


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