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Austrian wine exports to UK slump post-Covid

Published:  06 October, 2020

The value of Austrian wine sales in the UK plummeted in the first six months of 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

Sales for the six months to end of June fell 26.9% by value, according to the latest figures from Statistik Austria. Volumes performed more robustly, falling back just 3%.

The impact of the pandemic on the on-trade, where Austrian wines frequently retail at premium price points, has   been a major contributing factor to the disparity, according to the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB).

“We do think that the Covid-caused closure of the on-trade sector, where many Austrian wines are sold at quite substantial prices, has a big part in this," Anika Riegler, teamleader markets international at the AWMB, told Harpers. 

“The shift of wine sales to retail grocery due to the Corona lockdowns may explain the smaller losses in sales compared to revenue,” she added.

Overall Austria’s wine exports have weathered the crisis well, with the export value of Austrian wine having declined by just 1% compared to the first six months of 2019, while export volumes grew 7.4%

Volume sales increased dramatically in Austria’s two most important export markets, Switzerland and Germany, with rises of 31.3% and 14.3% respectively. 

Sales value ticked up just 0.4% in Germany, however, with Switzerland posting 3.5% growth. 

The other leading wine-producing nations in Europe have seen significant contraction in the German market in the first half of 2020, with volumes of Spanish wine sales down 12.9%, French wines down 9.6% and Italian down 2.8%, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office.

Chris Yorke, CEO of the AWMB, said: “So far, our wines have performed well in export, which of course makes us very happy. 

“Unfortunately, we are not yet able to extrapolate a prognosis for further developments, as the global situation remains too uncertain.”

Austrian wine exports high a record high of €185.4m in 2019, up 9% year on year. Export volumes grew 20.5% to 63.6 million litres.