In welcome news for local producers, Australian wine imports decreased in volume terms in the year to June, 2016, down by 3.7% to 87.8 ML (Table 5). However, in value terms imports increased for the fifth consecutive year, lifting by 5.6% to $731 million due to a decline in the proportion of lower value product. The average value per litre increased by 10% from $A7.61 to $A8.34 per litre, reversing the trend of the previous year.
New Zealand remained the leading source of Australia’s wine imports, but there was a decline in NZ wine coming into the country compared to the previous year. NZ imports were down in both volume and value terms, falling by 10% and 4% respectively. By contrast, French imports increased significantly, rising by 14% in value to $285 million in 2016. This followed an 11% increase in the previous year and means French imports are rapidly closing in on NZ imports in terms of value, even though French volumes are less than one third of New Zealand’s.
Italy and Spain also boosted their sales to Australians in 2016, with sales value rising by 14% and 19% respectively. This was achieved along with single digit growth in sales value per litre. Imports from Argentina jumped in value by 34% after producers managed to secure significantly higher prices from Australian consumers. US producers also managed to achieve sharply increased prices, with the average price per litre jumping by 53% from $A6.13 to $A9.39. Meanwhile, Portugal and Chile battled it out for the title of Australia’s leading source of low-cost imports.