By Andrew Starke
Domestic wine sales have slumped to a new low for the twenty-first century with sales down across almost all varietals and formats according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
95 million litres of Australian wine was sold domestically over the first three months of 2011, down from both the 134 million sold in the December quarter and 102 million for the same period in 2010.
The March 2011 quarter estimate for white table wine was 49.3 million litres, which was 7.7 percent lower than the March 2010 quarter estimate.
The estimate for red/rosé table wine in the March quarter was 32.7 million litres, 6.2 percent lower than the March 2010 quarter estimate.
Sales of wine in soft pack containers were worse affected than those of wines in glass containers.
However imported wine sales showed more resilience with the March quarter seeing 12.7 million litres of wine imported at a value of $85.1 million.
This represents an increase of 2.2 percent in quantity and an increase of 1.4 percent in value from the March 2010 quarter estimate.
Imported wine now accounts for about 15 percent of local wine sales, boosted by cheap imports from Chile, Spain and South Africa.
Shares in the newly demerged Treasury Wine Estates slumped on the back of the news.
At midday today these were trading at $3.26, down from $3.55 last week.