Latest figures for Australian wine exports, for the year ended April 2008, make gloomy reading for an industry predicated on the need to export.
They declined in volume by 8.5% to 730 million litres with falls in both of the two most important export markets the UK and US, and also declined in value by 4% to A$2.81 billion.
Although the total volume of bottled wine exported increased slightly (by 3%, or 17 million litres), bulk shipments declined by 33% (78 million litres) and those in 'soft-packs' (including bag in box) by 41% (7 million litres). In the preceding year to the end of April 2007, all three categories grew.
The average price per litre of wine exported increased by 4% to A$3.85 per litre, but this was purely because bulk wine represented a much smaller proportion of the total. The average price of bottled wine actually fell, by 5% to A$4.62 per litre, particularly in the UK, while the average price per litre grew notably in China.
Key trends identified by the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation:
- Volume declines, average price up
- Bottled volumes grow, downturn in bulk and soft pack shipments
- UK volume declines marginally, average price falls
- US volume declines, average price grows
- Value per litre in China grows 150%
China was a strong contributor to value growth, according to AWBC. Value increased A$10 million on the back of a 150% increase in the average price to A$4.62 per litre. The main contributor to the price rise was an increase in the share of bottled wine shipments, from a quarter to just over three-quarters. This was due to a 16 million litre decline in bulk shipments and a 3 million litre increase in bottled shipments.