Austria’s Wine Exports Continue on Successful Course
August 20, 2015 - DEMAND FOR WINE FROM AUSTRIA CLIMBS WORLDWIDE IN 2014. The final figures just released by Statistik Austria confirm that new records were set in international wine exports for 2014. Export sales increased by an impressive six million Euros, which represents an unprecedented record of 145 million Euros. While the German-speaking countries Germany and Switzerland have remained the main export markets, growth rates were recorded in markets where the figures had been less significant, such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, the USA and China. Notable positive growth was seen also in neighbouring markets such as Italy, Slovakia, Poland and Croatia, and further afield in Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic countries – all revealing further potential for the future of Austrian wine. The growth in markets furthest away from Austria, such as Canada, Australia and Japan, underscores the success of the Austrian Wine Marketing global strategy: to aim for growth by positioning wines in higher price segments not only in some key markets, but in many countries worldwide.
Wine from Austria anchored in the quality segment
The figures published by Statistics Austria for total wine exports in 2014 confirm this strategy. Despite four harvest shortfalls over the past five years, the wine export figures recorded for 2014 display a strong rise (+ 6% volume; + 4.5% value). According to Statistik Austria, 50 million litres of wine were exported in 2014 to the value of 145 million Euros – a new record high. In 2003, by comparison, the volume of wine exported was higher, at 66% (83 million litres), yet the net value was less than half at 69 million Euros. The average price per litre climbed from € 0.83 in 2003 to € 2.93 in 2014 – which translates to a value multiplied by a factor of 3.5. This is an impressive example of the paradigm shift that has taken place over the past decade in Austrian wine exports: a move away from cheap, jug wines, particularly in the main export market, Germany, towards a global distribution of higher quality, and thus better value, wines.
Former “problem” markets gradually being won over
Germany remains the principal export country with a 54% value share; a three percent growth in value and a volume growth of five percent were recorded. Switzerland, taking second place, had a volume growth of eight percent and was able to maintain the previous year's revenue total of 15 million Euros, with a high average price per litre of six Euros. The United States recorded a strong increase in volume (+18%) and value (+15%), which is the result of today's highly effective merchant network that expanded following the economic decline of 2008.
Significant wine export growth was recorded in the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and especially China. Just a decade ago, these countries were barely active as export markets. “In all of these countries, we have made strong, consistent efforts to build efficient distribution,” states Willi Klinger, managing director of Austria Wine Marketing. “These markets, in addition to the main export markets, will continue to grow and will certainly play an increasingly important role in the future. For 2015, we are strongly aiming for Austrian winemakers to have, volume-wise, a harvest of more than 250 million litres. This will bring us closer to our goal of attaining an export value of more than 180 million Euros. “