Australian wine has always been in high demand from foreign countries such as the United States and China. To give you an indication of just how extensive this demand is, Australia’s wine exports have grown to a staggering $2.1 billion per year, with the average price paid for wine grapes growing to $526 per tonne. This is the highest it’s been since 2009.
The United States currents takes out the top position as Australia’s leading market for wine exports, raking in more than $440 million last year. Whilst they may be our biggest consumer of Aussie wines, China demonstrates an aggressively higher rate of growth. In the 12 months leading up to June of this year, the US wine market increase by 9%, whilst in that exact same time, China grew by 50% - now at $419 per year. This clearly shows that China appears set to fast become our largest market in coming years, maybe as soon as 2017.
Where has this demand come from?
This market surge can be largely attributed to a growing middle class in China that has seen more residents looking to purchase top shelf wines. While China has begun to produce some of their own decent quality wines, thanks to considerable Australian and French assistance, it is a very slow growing industry. It is for this reason that the Chinese are looking to import as much Australian reds as they can to meet this wine-boom.
Red is the flavour of prestige
Why reds you might ask? China has always maintained a thirst for Australian reds, with 93% of our wine exports to their country being attributed to red wine. The majority of wine drinkers in China are males, and there is the growing perception among this market that red wine carries more prestige than white. As this is a very important element among China’s wine drinking demographic, reds are in much higher demand, almost dominating all exports out of Australia.
Australia is still only responsible for 20% of all wine going into China, coming in at second place behind France which makes up the largest number of exports at 40%. Considering France is one of the world’s largest and oldest producers of wine, this speaks volumes about how fast Australia’s own wine market has exploded across the global market.