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Tasmanian wine exports: Volume to China down but value grows by ROGER HANSON20/02/2018  

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\桌面\11.jpgLooking good: Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies says the season is going well so far.

WHILE mainland winemakers chase volume growth with booming sales into China, the Tasmanian sector is intent on growing value.

Australian exports to China rose from about $520 million to $848 million, or 63 per cent, in 2017, according to figures released by Wine Australia.

However, Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies said the state’s exports to China may have declined but value remains strong.

“Given the small number of Tasmanian wine exporters, small volumes exported, strong demand and variable annual production of Tasmanian wine, our export picture tends to be a little different from the rest of the country,” she said.

“The season is going very well so far, lots of large full bunches and we look like starting the first harvesting of fruit for sparkling in about two weeks, which is quite early.”

Tasmanian moving annual wine exports total until December was 315,000 litres (up 7 per cent) with a value of $4,531,000 (up 15 per cent) for a value per litre of $14.39 (up 8 per cent).

The UK and US are top two markets by both value and volume followed by mainland China, Finland and Hong Kong. The value per litre of bottled wine to UK is $13.27 compared with mainland $3.83, US $13.06 (Aus $3.88), mainland China $15.46 (Aus $7.22), Finland $10.73 (Aus $5.51), Hong Kong $19.62 (Aus $15.12). Wine Australia chief executive Andreas Clark said Chinese sales for wines had increased across all price points, from entry level to premium wines.

Mr Clark said Australia’s sales to China were growing at a faster rate than competitors from Europe.

He said the three major wine producers in Europe — Spain, France and Italy — had weather-related problems during the past year. Wine Australia said the value of Australian wine exports to all importing nations rose 15 per cent in 2017 to $2.56 billion — well short of the more than $3 billion set in 2007 but the highest annual growth rate since 2004.

In volume terms, Australian wine exports topped a record 811 million litres last year, a rise of 8 per cent on the previous year.

China is Australia’s biggest customer, followed by the US with sales of $449 million.

Mr Clark said the US had its challenges but additional promotional funding had gone into that market through a Federal Government export program.