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Taking Stock: Wine Exports Show Ups and Downs


Relatively speaking, German wine exports during the first half of 2009 were barely affected by the worldwide economic crisis. According to data released by the German Wine Institute/Mainz, compared with the first half of 2008, export volume increased by 4.3%, or one million hecotliters, while export value decreased slightly by 1.9%, or EUR 195 million, in the first six months of 2009.


Speaking at the German Wine Institute’s Export Forum in Oppenheim, managing director Monika Reule explained why it is necessary to take a closer look at individual export markets: “Fortunately, our third most important export market, Netherlands, posted more than a 30% increase in value and in volume. Together with other growth markets, this helped compensate for anticipated export declines – particularly in overseas markets, such as the USA, Canada and Japan, where the strong Euro served to exacerbate the overall difficult economic situation.”

Wein gehöt auch in amerikanischen Bars zum guten TonThe 8% increase in value and 14% increase in volume within the 27 member states of the EU during the first half of 2009 is quite positive. In addition to equally positive developments in Netherlands (+31% / +34%), there were noticeable increases in value and in volume in Ireland (+49% / +56%), Poland (+72% /
+ 77%), and Sweden (+1.5% / +29%). Great Britain (-16% / -13%) and Norway (-4% / -17%), however, posted declines, and in non-EU nations as a whole, there were also decreases in value
(-11.8%) and in volume (-11.3%). In the USA, the most important export market for German wine, value and volume decreased by six and one percent, respectively. For more information click here.

Nearly three fourths of German wine exporters’ revenues are generated in four broad areas: North America, Great Britain/Ireland, Benelux and Scandinavia. As such, the wine institute focuses its activities in these markets, as well as in growing markets, such as Poland and Switzerland.

Thanks to an additional €635,000 in funding within the national financial framework of the EU, the wine institute was also able to strengthen its marketing efforts in non-EU countries in 2009.

Furthermore, one can already see positive results in the USA halfway through the three-year project “Destination Riesling” that is being subsidized with 1.5 million Euros of EU funding. As of this year, wine enthusiasts can visit, a new website that provides wine enthusiasts with all kinds of information about Riesling, and includes a calendar of events with a Riesling focus. The subsidies also enabled the wine institute to strengthen its image campaign for Germany’s most important grape variety in the USA. This year, for example, the “Riesling Week” program could be extended to five U.S. metropolitan areas. A total of 126 restaurateurs and wine merchants participated in the program.

Now that Germany has managed to spread its message about Riesling in most foreign markets, the wine institute will expand its marketing measures abroad to include other important in German wine varietals. This year, for example, the world’s first “Pinot Trio” event took place in the USA. The very successful event included not only a comprehensive tasting of Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), but also a seminar and culinary accents.

In 2009, more than 200 producers with well over 1,000 wines participated in the annual, highly respected “Riesling & Co.” world tour. It took place in 16 metropolitan areas in the most important foreign markets around the globe. Last but not least, the numerous study trips through Germany’s wine regions – for members of the retail and restaurant trades as well as the press – are an additional, important part of the wine institute’s work to reach international target groups.

During the next few days, the German Wine Institute will determine precisely which marketing meaures will be undertaken in 2010 in the foreign markets where the institute has branch offices. According to managing director Monika Reule: “The goal of our activities is to create added value in export markets by publicizing the special qualities and unique characteristics of our wines. We are convinced that we will succeed, particularly when the general world economic situation starts to improve.”