January 9, 2014 – DESPITE SMALLER HARVEST, AUSTRIA’S WINEMAKERS ACHIEVE ALL-TIME EXPORT REVENUE HIGH. – Austrian winemakers are looking back on 2013 as yet another successful export year. Just like in 2012, last year’s harvest delivered a below-average quantity – but export revenues soared by more than 4% to 137.5 million euros. Also, because of the high share of bottled wine exports, an average export price of 3 euro/litre was reached for the first time ever. Additionally, with structural improvements made in the domestic wine sector, the number of exporting wineries continuously increased. Contributing significantly to the record high export revenues were Scandinavia, United Kingdom and the Benelux countries as well as overseas markets including Japan and China.
Highest export revenues with an average price of 3 euro/litre reached
Austria’s wine export revenues increased dynamically also in 2013, despite the year’s smaller harvest. According to the provisional export figures for the first three quarters of 2013 by Statistik Austria and projections made by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) based on the export turnover for the last quarter of 2012, there was a 4% revenue increase, to 137.5 million euros, even with a light 3% volume decline to 45.5 million litres. The average total export price climbed to over 3 euro/litre – which marked the achievement of an important goal set by the Austrian wine sector. An essential factor for the success in 2013 was – yet again – the high share of bottled wine exports, which now represents 95% of the total export revenue.
As a result, the 2013 wine export revenues were significantly higher than in 2012, which totalled 132 million euros. “This is remarkable because the increase did not come from the traditionally strong markets of Germany, Switzerland and the USA, but from the former ‘problem children’ like Scandinavia, the Benelux countries, United Kingdom and Japan,” notes Willi Klinger, general manager of the AWMB. “Plus the markets in the Central European neighbourhood gave optimistic signals as well.”
Particularly noteworthy is that Austrian wine exports to China increased by 50% for the second time, and an average price of more than 7 euro/litre was reached. The AWMB sees the potential for even further growth in the Chinese market.
The official export statistics to the European Community include re-exports. These should reflect no increase in 2013 over the previous year.
More winemakers pushing to export
In recent years, the Austrian wine sector has undergone major structural changes. In 2009, there were just 1,000 wineries in Austria producing more than 30,000 litres of wine. By 2012, the number of wineries had increased to 1,600 (In 2012, there were 3,300 wineries in Austria producing less than 30,000 litres; in 2009, there were 5,500). This development, along with constant consumption in the domestic market, fueled competitive pressure at home.
Because of this, the importance of exporting wine has increased massively for Austria’s winemakers. “Now it is not enough to be successful in a few export countries like Germany, Switzerland or the USA“, Willi Klinger explains. “Austrian wine is a niche product in all countries. Therefore we have to increase the number of countries in which this niche will be successful. There, on one hand we must defend the top of the premium segment, yet on the other hand we have to succeed at price levels where there are reasonable quantities and where the average export price is between three to five Euro/litre. We have already accomplished this in many European countries.”
“The encouraging export data shows that the cooperation between the winemakers, merchants and the AWMB is successful,” says Johannes Schmuckenschlager, the new president of the Austrian Wine Growers’ Association. “The successful export figures indicate a high appreciation for Austrian wine abroad. This image has a positive effect also on the domestic market and adds to the value of the wineries.”