Wine exports up in value, down in volume

Thursday, 11. September 2008 - 13:00

by Meininger’s Wine Business International

Despite a decline of 1% in volume to 200m litres, exports of German wines rose by 2% in value to €398m in the 12 months through June 2008, according to statistics released by the German Wine Institute (DWI) in Mainz.

Announcing the figures at its Export Forum in Oppenheim, Monika Reule, the managing director of the DWI, declared herself satisfied with the results, adding: "Turnover of all German wine exports has increased by 43% since 2000." Given the limited size of Germany’s vineyard area, we are more interested in value than volume”.

Exports to the United States have been particularly strong during the first half of 2008, fueled by the growing popularity of Riesling, so that the American market has now supplanted Great Britain as the most important export destination for German wines. One quarter of total export revenues now derive from sales to the US, worth €99m. Both revenue and volume of exports to the US have more than doubled since 2000.

That said, growth has slowed in recent months due to the troubled American economy and weak dollar. In fact, revenues declined 2% and volume 4% over the twelve months to June 2008. Nonetheless, Reule was pleased to note that a current poll shows that increasing numbers of young Americans are drinking German Rieslings. "As such, we remain optimistic that our wines will also be successful in the American market in the future.”

The British market, for years the most important export destination for German wine, is also changing. Although volume has fallen from 93.4 to 52.5m liters since 2000, the value of exports declined only slightly, from 88 to €83m, indicating that the volume losses were primarily at entry level price points. In general, loss sales in Great Britain were more than offset by growth in other markets - and with wines of higher value.

Sales growth to the other markets has been particularly strong in recent months: China (+53%), Belgium (+32%), Switzerland (+27%), Russia (+22%) and Norway (+12%). The Japanese market, however, remains difficult. There, sales have fallen again by 22% over the past twelve months.