Uneven Export Developments Recorded for German Wine

Higher average prices are driving increasing export values for German wine. There are significant variations among markets. Clemens Gerke reports.

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The developments in export markets for German wine are uneven. (Image: kokouu/DB Schenker)
The developments in export markets for German wine are uneven. (Image: kokouu/DB Schenker)

Recently, the Greek market research institute Oensights made headlines with a report on the very poor performance of German wine exports to five specific markets outside the EU between January and April 2023. Looking at the overall export development, the picture is not consistent. The German Winegrowers' Association (DWV) reported a 2% decrease in the quantity of German still wine exports, amounting to 259,000 hectoliters, for the period from January to March 2023. At the same time, the value increased by 9% compared to the previous year's period, reaching €85m.

When examining the exports to individual countries, the latest statistics from the DWV only show a 12-month trend, which, however, appears less alarming than the data from Oensights. This might be due to the DWV conducting data cleansing, removing previously misrecorded re-exports from the net exports of German wine.

In some parts, the data seem to align. Oensights reports a 5% decline in exports to the US, while the DWV's 12-month period shows a slightly higher decrease of 6.3% but also indicates a value increase of 4.5%, compared to Oensights' 5% decrease. The DWV's perspective corresponds to the reports of German exporters, who find the US to be a highly attractive market in terms of pricing.

For Canada, the eleventh-largest market by value, the DWV data suggest a very negative development. However, Oensights' reported decline of 31% might be exaggerated in value. Similarly, for the UK, which now ranks sixth in value and fourth in quantity, the DWV report indicates a decline of over 14% compared to the previous year.

Academic Papers

Hochschule Geisenheim University and the Association of German Sparkling Wine Producers studied Germany’s sparkling wine market. How much is consumed and when—and who’s drinking it? A report by Professor Dr Gergely Szolnoki, Christoph Kiefer and  Dr Alexander Tacer.

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China with significant deviations

Significant discrepancies exist in export values between Japan and China. Specifically, China, as the fifth-largest export market, experienced a highly positive 12-month period with increases of 13.2% in value and 12.3% in quantity, likely due to the end of strict lockdown policies. In contrast, Oensights reports substantial losses of 30% in volume for China during the same period.

The German Wine Institute (DWI) reported on the development of German wine exports to Scandinavia in the first half of 2023. Contrary to the prevailing trend, German wines experienced a remarkable 9% increase in sales in Sweden, while in Norway, the second-largest buyer by value, German wine sales grew by 2%. German white wine further solidified its position as the market leader in Norway. However, sales in Finland declined by 1%; nevertheless, German wines performed better than the overall market. Major wine exporters are observing an increasing price sensitivity in Scandinavian markets, leading to less attractive margins than before.

The US leads the pack

According to the DWV statistics, the US remains the undisputed most crucial market, with a 12-month quantity of 155,000 hectoliters and a value of €68m. Norway follows with €34m, ahead of the Netherlands (€31m), Poland (€24m), China, and the UK (both €22m). While average revenues in the US, Norway, and China range from €439 to €520 per hectoliter, the other three markets have values of €214 to €287 per hectoliter, making them consumers of more affordable German wines.



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