Surprising wine export record in 2020 despite the corona crisis

Despite the corona crisis and long gastro lockdowns, local winemakers surprisingly exported more wine in 2020. Austria Wein Marketing (ÖWM) recently expected a decline. The export volume rose last year to 67.4 million liters (+6.3 percent), the turnover climbed to the new high of 187.3 million euros (+2.4 percent), as the ÖWM with reference on Wednesday reported on Statistics Austria data.

At the end of 2020, the ÖWM had expected a decline in the year as a whole to 62 million liters (-2.4 percent) and 175 million euros (-4.4 percent). The basis for the forecast at that time was the export figures up to September. In the fourth quarter, however, wine exports rose sharply.

“The export figures for 2020 are an unbelievable achievement by the Austrian wine industry,” said ÖWM managing director Chris Yorke in a broadcast. Despite the failure of all major wine fairs and events, as well as bars and shops that were closed for months, the “high appeal” of Austrian wine made it possible to increase exports worldwide. In addition to the main export market Germany, the Austrian winemakers also recorded higher sales volumes in the other core markets of Switzerland and the Netherlands. There was a decrease in the USA, but a strong increase in Scandinavia and Canada.

There was a shift in the sales channels in the corona year. The stronger increase in the export volume compared to the value indicates that less Austrian wine was sold in international gastronomy due to the pandemic restrictions, but more via online and offline trade channels such as food retailers and specialist wine shops, according to ÖWM managing director Yorke . The average price fell slightly to 2.78 euros per liter (2019: 2.89 euros).

According to Wein Marketing, sales growth was driven by bottled wines (+9.9 percent), and quality red wines in particular sold well (+26.2 percent). In contrast, the export volume of bulk wine fell by 6 percent.

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