Exports of Australian wine to China grew by 51 per cent in the 12 months to 30 September 2016, pushing it to the number one market by value for the first time.
The value of exports to China is now $474m and the strong growth in the region has been attributed to the benefits of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement as well as the growing Chinese middle class’ increased interest in wine. The average consumption frequency of imported wine and the number of imported wine drinkers are both increasing in China.
Negociants International Executive Director, Adam O’Neill said: "The demand for our premium wines in China shows no sign of abating and it is particularly pleasing to see high levels of engagement from key trade and media. The rapidly maturing palate of consumers and the ability to reach them through online platforms such as TMall has us confident that this growth will continue, particularly at higher price points.
"In addition to this, our newly formed partnership with ASC Fine Wines and Yalumba allows us to continue building a sustainable trade footprint with sommeliers and fine wine retailers and focus our efforts on education and brand awareness in conjunction with Wine Australia’s key programs.
"It’s certainly an exciting time for the Australian category."
Across the region, Hong Kong exports grew in value by 7 per cent to $126 million and recorded the highest average value for exports at $13.53 per litre. Exports were also up in Singapore by 9 per cent to $62 million, Malaysia by 24 per cent to $55 million, Taiwan by 23 per cent to $19 million and South Korea by 42 per cent to $14 million. Exports to Japan saw a small decline of 0.3 per cent to $45 million, due to a decline in bulk wine exports.
Exports to the United States continued to grow, but at a much slower rate, with value up four per cent to $448m.
In April TheShout reported that the combined China and Hong Kong market was worth more than the US, with Wine Australia’s General Manager of Marketing, Stuart Barclay, saying: “The Chinese market is still very strong, and when you combine this with the Hong Kong market it is worth over $500 million. The growth is coming from across China at lots of different price points, including very strong growth for sales above $10," Barclay said.
“By comparison, the US market is one of our toughest markets. This used to be a $1 billion market and we are now doing around $440 million.”
The growth of Australian wine in China, is highlighted by the fact that just a decade ago, Australian wine exports to China were valued at $27m.