China gets a taste for top Australian wines
Winemakers are boosting their marketing efforts in Asia, with Penfolds last year choosing Shanghai to launch its $1000-a-bottle Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz.
Australian wine exports fell 7 per cent in volume to 705.3 million litres in the year to March 31, while in dollar terms they fell 8 per cent to $1.87 billion, according to figures from the federal government's export marketing body Wine Australia.
But sales to China, the nation's third-largest export destination, rose 23 per cent to $210.6m despite a 22 per cent fall in sales by volume, reflecting a shift to more expensive wines.
The fastest-growing segment of the Chinese market for Australian winemakers was for bottles priced at $10 or more, which recorded a 39 per cent rise over the year compared with a 16 per cent fall in wines priced at $2.49 or less.
The Chinese market is attracting increased attention from exporters, with the number of Australian companies exporting to China rising by 18 per cent while exporters targeting our two biggest customers, the US and Britain, fell by 13 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.
Hong Kong and Singapore grew 11 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. Britain remained our largest wine customer by volume with 251.9 million litres, but sales fell 3 per cent by volume and 18 per cent by value. The US -- our largest customer by value, buying $467.9m worth of wine -- fell 11 per cent by value and 5 per cent by volume.