UK picks up Australian wine exports but not enough to offset lost sales to China

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Australian wine exports to the UK are at their highest level in a decade, but China remains the most lucrative market for Australian winemakers at the moment.

Australian wine sales have grown to many countries in the past financial year.

Hong Kong, in particular, jumped 111 per cent to become Australia’s fourth largest market by value, valued at $187 million.

Rachel Triggs, director general of corporate and regulatory affairs at Wayne Australia, said growth in exports to the UK – up 23 per cent in value and 16 per cent in volume – was particularly strong in the first half of the year.

“There has been a rise in wine sales in [off-premises sales] Due to COVID-19 related closures of [restaurants and bars] And also some exporters are sending wine to the market before Brexit because they are concerned about the red tape that they might be exposed to after Brexit.”

“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.”

Australian wine exports fell 10 percent in value terms in 2020-21, to $2.56 billion.(

Supplied: Australian wine

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

A recent Wine Australia export report showed the impact of Chinese tariffs – from 107 percent to more than 200 percent – on Australia’s wine industry.

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

As a result, wine exports in 2020-2021 fell by 10 percent in value terms, to $2.56 billion overall, and export volumes fell by 5 percent, to 695 million liters.

However, excluding mainland China, exports increased by 12 percent in value to $1.96 billion and increased by 6 percent in volume to 643 million liters.

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 cans.

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

“China was a great market for a lot of exporters and a lot of exporters were doing well there and they were getting good money for their products,” Triggs said.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean there haven’t been other markets looking for Australian wine and that’s what we’re seeing around the world in these rising numbers in a lot of other markets.”

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