The world’s annual consumption of wine is equivalent to 10,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. The global demand for wine is constantly rising, and buyer trends worldwide influence the grape varieties grown, the way wine is produced, and the flavor combinations used. While many people across Europe enjoy a bottle of wine with a meal or a glass or two to relax after work, there are new and emerging markets just waiting for wine exporters to seize. In this article, we’re going to explore the five leading wine-exporting countries in the world, highlight the benefits of having your very own vineyard and producing your own wine, and then finally discuss how to use an online marketplace such as Alibaba.com to export red, white, rose or sparkling wine overseas.
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France, Italy, and Spain make up half of the world’s wine producers. Thanks to their Mediterranean climate, vineyards flourish throughout the summer months, and a wide variety of grapes are easily grown and harvested. Red wine is the most popular type of wine and makes up 60% of all grapes in the world’s production of wine.
While wine is commercially produced in over 70 countries, the United States is considered the world’s largest market for wine exporters, with 30 million hectoliters of wine drank each year. Yet, Americans don’t take first place for wine consumption. European countries tend to drink more wine per capita than the US, with a glass of red or white wine being enjoyed daily with an evening meal or while socializing with friends or family.1
The wine market is segmented by region, the type of grapes used, the color, and the distribution channel. Wine can be still, sparkling, fortified, or vermouth, each with its own purpose and unique target market. Wine exporters tend to ship crates of wine to supermarkets, restaurants, wholesalers, and hotels around the world. Half of the wine exported from the Southern hemisphere to Europe and North America is shipped in bulk and bottled or packed in bag-in-boxes upon arrival.2
In 2020, global sales of wine totaled $34.1 billion, a 5% increase from 2016. But, from 2019 to 2020, wine exports were actually in decline, dropping by almost 5% year on year.3
In the first quarter of 2020, the global pandemic threw a spanner in the works for wine companies around the world. With international trade almost coming to a complete standstill due to ongoing travel restrictions and lockdowns, the wine industry struggled to meet deadlines. In March 2020, the global wine trade suffered a 10% decline, which increased to 22% in April and then to 27% in May. This was caused by a significant drop in international wine exports, worth $2.1 billion. Sparkling wine, used to celebrate and mark special occasions, decreased by 30% in value and 10% in volume. But, bag-in-box wine enjoyed a 4% rise in value and a 14% increase in volume. This suggested that during lockdowns, consumers were concerned about unemployment, and so opted for more affordable wine (bag-in-box), and chose not to splurge on sparkling or more expensive varieties. Despite a decline during these uncertain times, the global wine market is now projected to register a compound annual growth rate of 4.28% between 2021 and 2026.4
As consumers become more aware of the benefits of drinking certain types of wine, there is an increasing demand for premium wine products, which carry additional health benefits and unusual flavors. From tropical flavors and Riesling to fortified wine, changes in drinking habits around the world will open up new opportunities for innovative and modern wine brands.2
Now let’s quickly discuss new markets for wine exporters.
Drinking red wine is part of Chinese tradition, as the color red is considered lucky. In fact, China is one of the leading markets for red wine. Since Hong Kong has no import tax on wine, it remains a big market for wine exports. But, Asia-Pacific’s demand for high-quality wine also extends to India, which is enjoying a growth rate of 7%. Plus, the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan are also developing a taste for wine, positioning them all as emerging markets for established and new wine companies to move into. But that’s not all. With a growing middle class, Brazil and Argentina are also playing a pivotal role in the future growth of the global wine industry, sparking a surge in marketing campaigns by significant importers to promote the culture of wine drinking across South America.2
Let’s take a look at the top 5 leading wine-exporting countries in the world and the type of wine they produce and ship worldwide.
Wine exports from France have doubled in less than twenty years. France equates to 29.2% of total wine exports worldwide and is valued at $10 billion. With parties, gatherings, and celebrations on hold due to the global pandemic, the sparkling wine market lead by Champagne dropped by $754 million. Vineyards across Bordeaux were also hit hard by the fall in US imports and a drop in Chinese demand.5
Red and white wine is one of the most important products for the Italian manufacturing industry. But wine production depends on the weather and, in particular, the average temperature in the region. There’s no doubt that Italy is a major wine exporter and ships $7.2 billion worth of wine each year around the world to countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Portugal, the USA, and France, but its success is underpinned by the climate and seasons.6
In 2020, Spain produced 40.7 million hectoliters of wine. Unable to compete with France and Italy, Spain’s climate and infertile soil makes it more challenging to grow grapes and harvest in bulk. Despite this, Spain’s wine exports are worth $3.1 billion.7
Currently, Australia has over 2,000 wine exporters, shipping to 111 destinations around the world. $2.1 billion worth of wine is exported from Australia to overseas buyers each year. China and the United Kingdom are Australia’s biggest markets, with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon the most popular red wines to export abroad.8
Chile exports around 70% of its entire wine production to about 150 countries. While wine production is big business in Chile, vineyard tours are also a massive revenue stream. Wine tourism in Chile has received international recognition. International media have promoted wineries across the country and approximately 611,000 tourists visit vineyards in Chila each year to sample a wide variety of red wines.9
Despite concerns about climate change and its impact on wine production, the global wine industry continues to grow. Vineyards across the world grow grapes and produce a global selection of red and white wines. If you live in a hot climate, where grapes grow in abundance, you might want to consider selling your quality production overseas. There are still plenty of international buyers searching for direct sourcing and for opportunities to partner up with a unique wine exporter who will help give them an edge over their competitors. So, here are five benefits of exporting wine overseas.
Let’s say you produce and sell a red wine with top notes of mushroom. By exporting your unusual wine overseas, you can introduce this unique flavor to an entirely new market. This also applies to vegan wine and even low-calorie wine. While a new style or taste might not appeal to local buyers, it might be a tremendous success in another country.
By exporting wine to developing countries such as Argentina and Mexico, you can increase sales and take advantage of large populations, growing middle classes, and people who are only just developing a taste for wine. In fact, Argentina is the second-largest national economy in South America and is considered an emerging market by the FTSE Global Equity Index 2018.10
If you have a vineyard in Europe, you might want to consider exporting wine to China. There are around 80 million regular wine drinkers in China, and the market is said to be worth $16.5 billion. China offers enormous potential for wine exporters around the world, with most drinkers between the ages of 19 and 29. This means the popularity of wine will grow year on year as the young generation grows up, and drinking wine becomes a major part of social society.11
Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Malbec are all red wines that carry warmth. Ideal for drinking during the colder months of the year or to accompany comfort food such as spaghetti, lasagna, or meat. If you produce high-quality red wine, exporting crates overseas can help you sell red wine throughout the year, and even when your home country is basking in the sun and drinking refreshing and fruity white wines. Keep your sales potential high 365 days a year by selling wine around the world.
Another reason to export wine overseas is to avoid tax and increase your profit margins. For example, former president of the USA, Donald Trump, has caused a wide range of problems for US importers, who have never paid a lot of money in import duties when buying foreign wine. Due to a rift between the US and the EU, vendors across the US now face a hefty 25% tax on wine imported from the United Kingdom and Spain. This increase in taxes is making it extremely difficult for some businesses to stay open. But, wine exporters from South America, Australia, and New Zealand could use this to their advantage and offer more affordable deals to US customers.12
Read our ultimate guide on how to start exporting.
Read our article on How to find international buyers for your export business.
Alibaba.com is a trusted international platform that can help you sell and export wine around the world. Whether you’re a new winery, you own a large vineyard in Italy, or you’d like to export fine wine from the UK overseas, now is a prime time to take advantage of the growing demand for high-quality alcohol. Start selling and exporting with ease, thanks to Alibaba.com’s business reports, data, and analytics that help sellers make better data-driven decisions. To discover the benefits of exporting goods worldwide, read our article on Benefits of exporting for small businesses. Take your wine business global with Alibaba.com.