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Chinese demand causes Australian wine exports to break records by Jethro Kang08/08/2018  

Value of exports to China up by more than half; buyers are also after more expensive wine


China’s thirst for Australian wine continues to be unquenchable, as demand from a rising middle class causes exports of bottles from Down Under to set new records.

According to a report released last week by industry body Wine Australia, total wine exports for the fiscal year 2018 is up 20 percent to 2.76 billion Australian dollars (¥13.9 billion), the highest jump in 15 years.

This increase in value is led by exports to Greater China, which expanded by 55 percent to 1.12 billion Australian dollars (¥5.66 billion) for the year. In contrast, the value of Australian exports to the United States, the world’s biggest wine market, was down by 8 percent to 424 million Australian dollars (¥2.1 billion).

By volume, total wine exports rose 10 percent to 852 million liters. The United Kingdom was Australia’s biggest market at almost 246 million liters, but China is catching up fast at 185 million liters, registering a growth of 47 percent for that year.

Australian wine drinkers also have expensive taste. The biggest rise in wine exports by price point was for bottles between 20 to 29.99 Australian dollars at 87 percent, or 167 million Australian dollars (¥844 million). That was closely followed by a 86 percent increase in exports of bottles between 50 to 99.99 Australian dollars, or 222 million Australian dollars (¥1.12 billion).

“It’s a great result overall,” Wine Australia chief executive Andreas Clark told the Sydney Morning Herald. “That 20 percent value increase is the highest rate of growth in 15 years.”

“Undoubtedly, the headline number is what’s happening in China. On the value perspective you see that strong growth rate of 55 percent into China, Hong Kong, and Macau. And that, year-on-year, has been really consistent,” he said.

These numbers have drawn a number of unscrupulous figures trying to profit from Chinese demand. That same week, Wine Australia suspended exports of Australian winery Daleford Wines, whom they accuse of trying to pass off their products in China as the highly-sought-after Penfolds Wines.