Over the first six months of 2021, Germany bought 3.96m hl of bulk wine. This was a decline both in volume (-8.1%) and value (-3.6%) compared to the previous year, but some producers benefited from the rise in average prices to €0.62 cents per litre.
Traditionally, Germans have sourced most of their imported bulk wine from their neighbour, Italy. That was not the case over the first six months of this year: in terms of volume, Spain is now ahead with 1.48m hl, an increase of 16.4%, or 20.8m litres.
This last figure almost precisely corresponds to the reduction in imports from Italy. These fell by 22.1m litres (17.3%) to 1.06m hl - the worst result in 15 years, according the World Bulk Wine Fair’s Bulk Wine Club, citing data from German customs.
However, Spanish producers should pause before popping Cava corks in celebration. Their success has come at the price – of low prices. The average price per litre of those Spanish imports was an extraordinarily low €0.33 cents per litre, compared to Italy’s €0.55 . This means that Spain, with a total of €49.3m, is still in second place with a total value of over nine million euros less than Italy’s €58.6m.
One reason for the sharp drop in Spanish prices was the above-average harvest in 2020 with about 45.77 million hectolitres. Full tanks have forced producers to cut prices since the beginning of the year, and it was not until the summer that there was some recovery.
France ranks third with 37.4 million litres (€33m) and a stable €0.88 cent/litre average price.
Source: World Bulk Wine Club
Rise of the New World
The New World Imports are rising too, with Australia recording growth of 18.7% in volume, +24.4% in value; and New Zealand enjoying increases of 21.4% and 20.6% in volume and value respectively. The latter country is admittedly growing from a low base, but is remarkable for its record prices of €2.38 per litre. South Africa’s impressive growth in volume shipments of 42.3%, by contrast has to be set against a rise of only 16% in value. In other words, as in the past, like Spain, the Cape is seen as the place to find cheap rather than premium wine.
In the Americas, the picture was mixed. The 23.6% fall in shipments for the region as a whole reflected poor performance by the USA (down by 15.2% in volume and 10.5% in value) and Chile (down by 20.5% in volume and 31.7% in value). But Argentina had a happier time with a rise in volume shipments of 24.7%.
These uneven results were mirrored in Eastern Europe, where Hungary, Macedonia and Moldova all saw a reduction in sales while Romania recorded a jump of 61%.