Go Moldova! | China wine imports fall 11% by volume, 14% by value in 2019

By Jim Boyce | Do you ever just know a wine you are about to open will be corked? That’s how the wait for the 2019 China wine import stats has felt. We knew it was going to bad, the question was how bad.

Envelope, please. Bottled wine imports slipped 11% by volume and 14% by value. That’s a painful fall, but not as bad as some expected, given imports dropped 12% by volume and 16% by value in the first eight months of 2019. A much more devastating body blow has since been felt in the form of the coronavirus crisis. (See 10 ways China’s wine trade is hurting.)

Here are some stats, provided by a leading importer that subscribes to an import data service. I’m on a deadline right now but will add more details to this post tonight.

In terms of volume, France led the way with 14.6 million 9-liter cases, for a drop of 19% compared to last year. Australia was second with 13 million cases, an increase of 2%, helped in part by the elimination of duties on the country’s wine as of January 1, 2019. South Africa and the United States saw major declines of 32% and 39 % , while Moldova exploded into the top ten with a gain of 102 % .

For value, Australia continued its strong showing, with USD780 million, a gain of 14 percent, although as noted before, a good portion of this is due to Treasury Wine Estates and producers with Chinese investment, often for citizenship reasons. France came second, with USD627 million, a drop of 31 percent. Moldova again showed strong gains, up 105 percent, while the U.S. plummeted 53 percent as the impact of China’s tariffs continued to be felt.

In terms of value per case, Australia ranks far ahead of France, USD60 to USD43. Spain continues to struggle, at USD23, while the United States, reduced to a sliver of the market, has the saving grace of USD50 value per case.

Okay, more coming in a few hours!

(Hat tip to the importer who provided this data!)

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