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Austrian Wine: 2004 Another Successful Year

Austrian wine has defended its place nationally and internationally. “Strengthened by its high market share at home, we have been able to increase our exports massively, and that despite an indifferent economy and the strength of the Euro. Especially Austria’s red wines were very much appreciated abroad,” sums up Michael Thurner (general manager of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, AWBM) during the annual press conference of at the Sacher Hotel in Vienna.

This picture shows a vineyard
© Austrian Wine / Armin Faber

Strong at home

Austrian wine is not only appreciated abroad, but also at home. Official market data from the AWMB show for instance that Austrian wine has a dominating market share of 84% in restaurants. Private consumption shows a similar structure: Mr. and Mrs. Austria chose Austrian wines three out of four times (74%). While only 29% of wines are being bought directly from the producer, food retail markets could further increase their market share to 59%.

Austrian sparkling wine to eclipse Prosecco

On 1 April 2005, Austria’s sparkling wine tax will be abolished. Since its inception it has put domestic sparkling wines at a clear disadvantage against foreign competition. Now, there will be a level playing field once again, and Austrian sparkling wines will be able to compete on equal terms. This also contributes to the continuation of base wine production in many Austrian wine growing areas and to the protection of the livelihood of numerous Austrian wine producers. The domestic wine industry expects that the abolition of the tax will result in a shift in the home market away from sparkling wines like Prosecco, and towards Austrian products.

Record value created in the export market – Austrian red wine booming

The positive wine export development of the last years continues. According to AWMB estimates, some 70 million liter of Austrian wines were exported last year, corresponding to 80 million Euros of value. “Our wine producers have earned more in the export than ever before,” comments Michael Thurner. “The result of the continuous quest for quality is an increase in value, and we are on the right way.” Thurner is especially delighted that 60% more bottled wines were exported, while bulk sales continued to fall. “Apart from the huge increase in value for the bottled wines it must be emphasized that our red wines are increasingly popular internationally. Especially Austrian varietals such as Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent are very sought after,” he remarks proudly. Positive export numbers are coming in from all main export markets. Apart from better average prices in Germany, more wine than ever before was shipped to the US, despite the strong Euro. Switzerland, Norway, Great Britain, the Netherlands and now also Japan are also home to more and higher-quality Austrian wines.

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