The average value of Australian wine exports continued to rise last year, while wine exports declined overall,  according to the latest Wine Export Approval Report December 2013, released by Wine Australia. 
 
The average value of exports increased by 1 per cent to A$2.59 per litre, due mainly to a 3 per cent increase in  the average value of bottled wine to A$4.58 per litre. 
 
Australian wine exports decreased by 6 per cent to 678 million litres and were valued at A$1.76 billion.  Wine Australia’s Acting Chief Executive, Andreas Clark said the performance of Australian wine exports in key  markets showed the operating environment for wine exporters remained challenging. 
 
“The decline in bottled Australian wine exports across higher price segments in many of our major markets is a  concern and shows the industry has a long way to go to improve returns for winemakers and grapegrowers and  achieve long term profitability,” Mr Clark said. 
 
“Last year, performances varied for exporters within markets. For example, in the UK roughly half of the Australian wine exporters increased the value of their exports while the other half experienced declines. 
 
“While exports were down in four of our top five markets, there were some positive developments that show the industry’s efforts to create greater awareness of the quality, diversity and regionality of Australian wine is achieving cut-through, although there’s a big job ahead. 
 
Wine exports to the US were down, however, the average value increased for the first time in seven years, driven by an increase in the value of bottled exports, particularly above A$7.50 per litre. This shows the value of the industry’s efforts to create interest in Australian wines at the higher end of the market. 
 
“In Canada, wine exports increased by 7 per cent to 51 million litres, while the average value of bottled exports increased by 1 per cent to A$5.11 per litre. 
 
“In the UK, the average value of exports increased, with bottled wine up 2 per cent to A$3.82 per litre and bulk wine up 4 per cent to A$1.06 per litre. The Australian wine category remains number one in the off-trade, with sales increasing in a declining market. 
 
“Exports to China dropped, with a significant decline in bottled exports at the end of last year. This was in keeping with a slowdown in the imported wine market across the board, mainly due to the austerity measures introduced by the Chinese Government at the end of 2012 to curb spending by government bodies on luxury goods such as premium imported wines. 
 
“Despite this, Australia remains well-placed in China, second behind France, and is achieving the highest average value among the top 10 importing countries. China remains the biggest destination for Australia’s premium wines above A$7.50 per litre. 
 “There’s a lot of positive sentiment about Australian wine in all our export markets following Savour Australia 2013 – the first ever global Australian wine forum – held towards the end of last year. 
 
“We’re working with the industry to build on this through our global program of educational and promotional initiatives including the Australia Today 2014 Wine Australia Roadshow, currently being held across the US and Canada; the Australia Day Tasting in London at the end of January; the Wine Australia Seminar and Grand Tasting Roadshow across China in April and Aussie Wine Month across Australia in May.”