US top wine exporter in Q1

The US topped the list of wine exporting countries in terms of value increase in Q1 of 2011, according to Rabo Securities Perspectives on the Global Wine market section of its Overview of Alcoholic Beverage coverage.

Between January and March this year US wine exports grew over 43 per cent in value although they fell three per cent in volume suggesting a considerable hardening-up of value for US wine exports.

France and Spain also enjoyed Q1 increases in export values of 20.7 per cent each but this was accompanied by volume increases of 8.7 per cent in the case of France and 32.7 per cent in the case of Spain.

Chile grew export values by 14 per cent despite volumes falling by 18.5 per cent while Australian exports fell by 12 per cent in value and 14 per cent in volume between January and April. New Zealand fared little better as wine export values fell six per cent with volumes declining 10 per cent between January and March 2011.

The UK remained the world’s largest import market for wine despite the pressure on the economy coupled with increasing excise tax on wine and retail consolidation there.

Rabo Securities study of the US domestic market found that ‘super premium’ wines (over $9 per bottle) returned to growth there in 2010 and this trend continued into 2011. The report stated, ‘Strong brands in the $20+/bottle segment’ gained better traction as discounting appeared to be easing although weaker brands still relied on discounting with wines in the $6-$9 per bottle segment remaining ‘weak’.

So while personal consumption is improving, good value continues to drive spending – even at the high end.

‘Brands that are neither high-quality nor low-priced ($6-$9) will find it difficult to maintain volumes without sacrificing margins,” reports the bank.

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