By Ian Neubauer

More bad news from the struggling wine sector emerged on Friday (Feb 6) after the Government-funded Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) revealed a double-digit fall in the value of exported wine over the past 12 months.

In the year ended January 2009, wine exports fell 17 per cent to $2.46 billion on the back of an average price decline of 8 per cent to $3.50 per litre.

The volume of wine exported also declined by 9 per cent to 701 million litres. Bottled wine accounted for the bulk of the decline, falling 12 per cent to 507 million litres, with reds accounting for around three quarters of the fall.

The result was driven by falling demand and price points in Europe, North American and Oceania. China and Hong Kong were the only markets that went against the flow, with value increasing by 34 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

The AWBC described China and Hong Kong as the "silver lining" for the Australian wine export industry. However, these markets are relatively small in size compared to the US and UK, where Australian wine imports have taken a hammering due to the economic downturn and tougher competition from South Africa and Chile.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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