Australian wine continues to hold a respectable second place in the hearts and palates of Irish consumers with sales of 1.5 million cases in 2017 according to the Irish Wine Association. Holding nearly 17% of the wine market here, for Australian wine exporters the emphasis is now on premium.
12 March 2019 | 0
Australia is always amongst the top global exporting wine countries and its wines continued their strong export growth in volume and value last year with growth in exports to nearly every region in the world.
International demand for fine Australian wine grew strongly too last year with a 10% increase in wine exports by value to Aus$2.82 billion and a 5% increase in volumes according to the annual export figures from Wine Australia.
“This demand translated into growth in almost all price segments,” commented Wine Australia’s Chief Executive Andreas Clark.
Bottled wine shipments increased by 7% in value to Aus$2.24 billion but decreased in volume by 3%. This saw the average value of bottled wine grow by 10%.
Unpackaged wine also experienced outstanding growth, reaching record levels in value (up 27% to Aus$560 million) and volume (up 12%). Another record was the value of exports above $10 per litre, which grew by 22% to Aus$895 million. With volumes and values on the increase, Australian winegrowers are now focusing on pushing premium.
Red wine continues to be the most popular wine style exported from Australia and value increased by 12% to Aus$2.14 billion in the year ended December 2018. The value of white wine exports also grew – by 10% to Aus$607 million.
European sales grew by 7% to Aus$615 million. But the UK retains the crown as Australian wines’ biggest customer by volume, importing 27.3 million cases last year, up by 10%, followed by China (19.1 million cases) and the US (17.9 million cases).
Australian wine in Ireland
With more Irish consumers eating out and enjoying wine with their meals, for both the on- and off-trade in Ireland Australian wines enjoy second place behind Chile in terms of country of origin sales with a 17.7% share of domestic wine market consumption. Overall figures for Ireland for the year ended December 2018 show direct Australian wine exports to Ireland down 37% in value and 35% in volume but it should be emphasised that these are direct exports to Ireland. Wine Australia doesn’t have details on exports from Australia into the UK which then go to Ireland which are significant.
However, the good news is that premium wine (above $10 per litre) is up by 58% in value here and 89% in volume – this is a small but strongly growing segment reflecting the growing interest in Australia’s premium wine.
In terms of grape varieties, while the major varieties generally decreased as you would expect from the overall result, alternative varieties such as Zinfandel, Durif and Viognier, as well as Riesling and Grenache, all grew strongly.
Organic wine makes up a tiny proportion (less than 1%) of exports to Ireland, but this segment more than tripled here in the last 12 months.
According to Wine Australia the top varieties exported to Ireland by value are:
Australia Day Tasting at the Mansion House
This year’s annual Australia Day Tasting at the Mansion House in Dublin on 30th January featured over 250 wines from over 100 unique grape varieties grown across 65 distinct wine regions. It was part of a three-city roadshow, following London (22nd January) and Edinburgh (28th January).
The event gave the wine trade and media the opportunity to meet the people behind the wines, hear their stories, try a diverse range of Australian wine and see what the future holds for Australian wine.
Visitors got up-to-date with the category, tasted new releases and discovered alternative varieties.
Q&As with Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia Regional General Manager for EMEA
How did your recent Australia Trade Tasting in Dublin go?
It went very well. Despite the weather, it was well-attended and we enjoyed catching up with buyers and media. It was also a great opportunity to introduce educators to Australian Wine Discovered, our new free education programme. Feedback from trade who explored the programme was incredibly positive. For the first time since 2016, we held a consumer tasting in the evening: over 150 guests attended including the Australian Ambassador and there was a great buzz in the room.
How are exports of Australian wines to Ireland, comparing to last year (volumes & value)?
We don’t look at the direct import figures to Ireland to give us an indication of the market because they do not include any of the wines shipped via the UK, which accounts for a significant volume. We know that we are holding our position in second place behind Chile for sales and are delighted with the buoyancy of the market overall particularly for New World wines.
Is the exporters’ push into Premium bearing fruit in Ireland – can you give some indications by way of figures?
Australian premium wine (above $10 per litre) is up by 58% in value and 89% in volume for the year ended December 2018. It’s a small, but growing segment. The numbers reflect the premiumisation trend – wine drinkers shifting towards quality over quantity – which we’re seeing not just in Ireland but other markets too.
How does Wine Australia intend to push its premium wine styles further here in Ireland this year?
We’re in planning mode for the next 12 months and premium wine is definitely something we want to showcase further. We’re currently looking at other formats of events, like masterclasses and immersion days, to enable the trade to do a deeper dive into Australia. Education is an important tool to help the trade and consumers discover and share premium Australian wine. After launching Australian Wine Discovered at the annual trade tasting, we’re very pleased to announce that we’ll be sharing a number of modules with consumers via our new website www.australianwine.com in late March.
Have you an on-trade strategy/off-trade strategy?
We’re committed to showcasing the quality and diversity of Australian wine across both the on- and off-trade. We want to challenge perceptions and re-ignite interest in the classics and hero regions, but also introduce the trade to alternative regions, varieties and styles. Particularly in independents and the on-trade, there’s appetite to explore more of the country’s diverse and innovative offerings. Looking at the recent export figures for Ireland, alternative varieties such as Zinfandel, Durif and Viognier, as well as Riesling and Grenache, all grew strongly.
‘Australian Wine Made Our Way’ campaign launched
In tandem with its drive to target the more premium market with its wines, Wine Australia hopes that ‘Australian Wine Made Our Way’, its new brand platform, will enhance the perceptions of global wine consumers through a new Australian wine website which will be supported by consumer-targeted activities in 2019.
The platform will underpin all investments supported by the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.
Wine Australia’s Chief Executive Andreas Clark said that these activities are part of a broader strategy to build perception of and demand for Australian wine and wine tourism among the wine trade and consumers in Australia’s largest and fastest-growing export markets.
Wine Australia wants to showcase the people, places and processes that make Australian wines unique with wine consumers globally.
“Our targeted events, media and education campaigns – such as the recently launched Australian Wine Discovered education programme – are amplifying positive sentiment, interest and excitement around the Australian wine category and building trade and consumer demand for our wine and tourism offerings,” said Andreas Clark, “We’re also increasing our presence on social media and e-commerce platforms globally to better speak with consumer audiences.
“In the past, our resources have been largely trade-focused; the $50m Package is allowing us to step up consumer engagement through digital media and connect with a larger audience.”
Wine Australia’s new consumer website
The new consumer website will engage consumers with rich content that’s educational and user-friendly. It highlights Australia’s 65 premium wine regions with winemaker profiles, stories, regional events and insights into some of Australia’s most popular wine varieties.
Content will be updated regularly and a simplified Chinese version will be published shortly.
Visit www.australianwine.com to explore this new resource for global consumers.
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