Spanish vintners had a spectacular year in 2017. Spain exported over 22 million hectolitres
last year, according to the Spanish Observatory of Wine Markets. The figure thus places Spain ahead of Italy (21 million hectolitres) and France (15 million hectolitres). 

Offering its wine cheaply at €1.25 per litre for bottled wines, Spain earned €2,850 million for its wine exports, while France more than tripled that amount: €9,000 million. For its part, Italy earned €6,000 million. France and Italy sell their wine, respectively, at €6 and €2.78 per litre. Only South Africa sells its wines at a price point lower than Spain. While South Africa markets its product at €1.23 per litre, Australian wine sells at €3.1 per litre and Chile sells at €1.89 per litre.

Spain seeks to reduce the sale of cheap, mass-produced wine that floods the markets. In 2017, there was 12.6 million hectolitres of bulk wine produced at an average price of €0.47 euros per liter. However, bulk production has dropped in recent years, even though it represents more than half of Spain’s wine sales in 2017, according to the El Pais newspaper of Spain. 

Spanish vintners can look forward to a rosy future, based on last year’s success: In 2017, Spanish exports grew by 2.5 percent in volume and 7.6 percent in turnover, due to a price increase of 5 percent.

Demand for wine in Spain has dropped over the last two decades: from 14 million hectolitres in 1997 to 10 million in 2017. Because wine production increased over that time period, the export market is essential for Spanish wine producers. Export sales increased during the same period from 8 million hectoliters in 1997 to 14 million in 2007. Emerging markets have become especially important. 

The European market takes in 16 million hectolitres, of which 9 million hectolitres are in bulk form. France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the United Kingdom take in 90 percent, while France is first in line. Spain is the leading seller of bulk wine that sells for €0.40 euros on average. Because these bulk wines are marketed as simply of European Union origin, French producers have strongly objected. 

Outside of European Union members, China showed an increase of 48 percent. At 1.4 million hectolitres, in 2017 China became the fifth largest market for Spanish wine. Even so, sales to China grew by only 21 percent to €172 million, as opposed to €372 million to Germany, €312 million to France, and €309 million to the United Kingdom. The United States bought  €302 million in Spanish wine. 




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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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