Home News Bitter news for wine exporters as more people choose not to drink to save money — and health

Bitter news for wine exporters as more people choose not to drink to save money — and health

by News7
Bitter news for wine exporters as more people choose not to drink to save money — and health

Australian wine exports have been hit by a global trend in people drinking less alcohol and cutting costs.

The volume and value of wine being shipped out of the country fell last year amid a global oversupply.

Wine Australia’s latest export report shows the nation’s wine exports declined by 2 per cent in value to $1.9 billion and 3 per cent in volume to 607 million litres in the 12 months to December 2023.

Market insights manager Peter Bailey said it was not all “doom and gloom”, but the figures did reflect the tough year experienced by many producers.

Wine sitting in a labelling machine, inside an Adelaide factory.

The amount of wine exported by Australian producers has fallen. (ABC: Harriet Tatham)

He said only 44 of the 112 destinations that received Australian wine during the year imported more value than they did the previous year.

“There’s global economic tightening, which has seen people reducing their discretionary spending and also consumers are being far more conscious of their health,” Mr Bailey said.

“Some consumers are abstaining from drinking wine, others are drinking less but paying more, while some are also seeking sort of no and low alcohol.”

A hand reaches for a glass of wine. A Harry Potter book is on the coffee table

A drop in consumption shows people are abstaining from drinking wine and some seeking no and low alcohol products.(ABC News: Niall Lenihan)

Europe and North America drove the reduction in Australia’s wine export value, while there were increases recorded into Hong Kong and Singapore.

“Asia is still an overall market where there’s growth opportunities, but as many of those markets are still emerging wine drinkers, it will be volatile,” Mr Bailey said.

“In the latest quarter, we’ve actually seen an increase in exports.

“Whether that does continue or it’s just a short-term increase, time will tell.

“But you know there’s still a lot of challenges and a lot of hurdles that we need to overcome.”

Hopes pinned on China

One of those challenges is possible re-entry into the lucrative China market, where Australian exports have “plummeted” under heavy tariffs in recent years.

The Chinese government announced in October a five-month review into tariffs on Australian wine, but there has been no confirmation of any planned changes to their position.

“There’s a process to play out with the investigation at the moment, so I don’t really want to pre-empt any of those outcomes,” Mr Bailey said.

“But that said, China is still an important market for Australian wine and over many years Australian wine companies have developed close relationships with importers, buyers and consumers of Australian wine in China, and those relationships remain important to our wine.”

It is a market wine exporters are hoping, and planning, will be back soon.

Workshops were held across South Australia this week to help prepare the industry, if tariffs were to be lifted, to sell wine to a more competitive Chinese market.

Inca lee stands outside smiling at the camera

Inca Lee says the industry needs to be proactive. (ABC South East SA: Elsie Adamo)

South Australian Wine Industry Association chief executive Inca Lee said Australia’s biggest competition would be from France, Chile and Argentina.

“We do know there is a deep impression that Australian wine has made on the Chinese consumer, and that sentiment hasn’t really changed,” she said.

“The challenge for South Australian wine exporters if we can re-enter the Chinese market in time, will be to create that relationship again.”

Ms Lee said she was “positive but not presumptuous” about the future with China, but was overall optimistic trade would resume at some point.

“The Chinese market into the future will provide an opportunity for South Australian wine again,” she said.

Stories from farms and country towns across Australia, delivered each Friday.

Source : ABC News (AU)

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