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Half-year figures show a 25% increase in export value

Relaxations in COVID-19 restrictions internationally led to a sharp rise in Austrian wine exports. From January to June, the total value of exports climbed to over €111 million – up by more than a quarter compared to the same period in the previous year. The reopening of the on-trade and substantial growth in all key export markets were the leading factors in this.

A graph shows the development of the export figures in the first half of 2021.
Compared to the first half of 2020, export volume rose by 9.8%, and revenue by as much as 25.5%. © Austrian Wine

Reopening of the hospitality industry has boosted revenue

As the wine export figures from Statistics Austria for the first half of 2021 show, Austria’s wines are very much in demand on the international market. A substantial increase of 9.8% in terms of volume is joined by an even greater increase in value of 25.5%. In this context, it must be added that wine exports also remained very stable in the first six months of 2020, despite COVID-19.

“We had hoped that the relaxation of global COVID-19 restrictions would be beneficial for our exports, but the current figures far exceed our expectations!” enthuses Chris Yorke, CEO of Austrian Wine (Austrian Wine Marketing Board), before adding, “While the hospitality industry is, sadly, only recovering slowly in the domestic market, the reopening of the hospitality industry internationally has meant that our winemakers have also been able to improve sales of their high-quality wines – as shown by the large increase in the export value. As a result, the average price per litre has once again topped 3 euros and is currently at a very pleasing €3.02.”

Having achieved over €111 million for the first half of the year, Austria’s wine industry is well on the way to achieving an annual export value of €200 million – a value that Austrian Wine had set as a medium-term objective. “Whether we attain this goal this year depends to a large extent on what happens between July and December,” Yorke explains.

High demand in the main export markets, sparkling wine on trend

The significant increase in value was due to growth in all of the key export countries. The price-sensitive German market saw a considerable increase of 15%, while value rose by 21% in Switzerland and as much as 33% in the USA. The Scandinavian countries, which had already experienced a significant increase in 2020, rose by a further 14%, while Belgium and the Netherlands added a combined increase of 37%. Especially pleasing is the growth of 52% in the United Kingdom, despite the country having left the EU. Very positive developments in terms of revenue were also seen in Canada (+111%) and the Asian markets. Japan saw an increase of 52%, and China a staggering 247%.

In terms of the individual product groups, sparkling wines enjoyed a particularly high increase in value of 45%, but white and red Qualitätswein (quality wine) in bottles also enjoyed significant growth in revenue (+33% and +18% respectively).

Focused efforts on maintaining contacts have paid off

Yorke puts these significant increases down to a collective effort by the wine industry. “Immediately after the first lockdown in March 2020, Austria’s winemakers and Austrian Wine actively worked on establishing and maintaining contact with our international partners. We didn’t want anyone to forget about our excellent wines – and now it’s paying off!”

Since the first lockdown in spring 2020, Austrian Wine organised 119 events around the world at which 5,500 wines from more than 700 winemakers were presented.

A continued focus on domestic wine sales

“As happy as we are about the developments in terms of exports, we must not forget about the extremely important domestic wine sales channels.” Yorke concludes. “The most important sales channel, the hospitality industry, is still feeling the effects of the pandemic, especially in urban areas. It is also extremely important that hotels and bars are able to remain open during the skiing season, as this is where many of our high-quality wines are sold. The latest reports from the domestic wine trade are very positive and report on increases, especially in terms of value.”

Wine exports 1st semester 2021 (Source: Statistics Austria)
  • Export value: €111.6 million (+25.5% on 1st semester 2020)
  • Export volume: 36.9 million litres (+9.8% on 1st semester 2020)
  • Avg. price 2021: €3.02 per litre (+ €0.38 on 1st semester 2020)
Export details
  • The relaxation of international COVID-19 restrictions and the reopening of the hospitality industry are having a positive effect, especially on the export value.
  • Increases in all key export markets including Germany, Switzerland, the USA, the UK, Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands
  • Japan and China also show significant increases
  • Sparkling wines, red and white Qualitätswein in bottles are in high demand

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