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Australian wine exports have declined by four per cent in the past year due to high tariffs imposed by China and the cumulative effect of three consecutive lower vintages in Australia, according to Wine Australia’s latest Export Report. 

The report covers the period from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. It found a four per cent decline in total exports (down to $2.77bn), as well as one per cent decline in volume (724 million litres) and a three per cent drop in average value ($3.82 per litre).

In December, provisional tariffs were imposed by China on Australian wine imports, impacting several producers, such as Treasury Wine Estates, with its profits in its Asia division falling byl 28 per cent to $127.2 million.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said exports to China for the December 2020 to March 2021 period were $12 million, compared to $325 million in the comparable period a year ago.

“As the tariffs apply to product in bottles under two litres, the decline in exports to China was mainly in bottled exports,” said Clark 

“This, along with increased unpackaged shipments to other markets such as the UK, resulted in a drop in the share of bottled exports in the export mix, from 46 per cent of total volume in the 12 months ended March 2020 to 41 per cent in the same period in 2021. 

“This led to the decline in the overall average value of exports.”

Clark added the potential downturn of exports was also due to the supply situation, as less volume produced in Australia was available for export.

The report further found growth in exports to Europe, including the UK, which was up by 23 per cent to $710 million and was the highest value in a decade. 

The value of wine exported in glass bottles declined by eight per cent to $2.2 billion while volume decreased by 10 per cent to 299 million litres.

Unpackaged wine exports, however, increased by 18 per cent in value to $577 million and increased 8 per cent in volume to 418 million litres.

In the past 12 months, the top five markets by value are:

  1. Mainland China, down 24 per cent to $869 million
  2. United Kingdom (UK), up 33 per cent to $461 million
  3. United States of America (USA), up 4 per cent to $432 million
  4. Canada, up 9 per cent to $195 million, and
  5. Hong Kong, up 55 per cent to $148 million.

The report found 18.5 million glasses of Australian wine are enjoyed overseas each day, with 60 per cent of wine produced in Australia being exported.

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