UK on-trade puts dampener on Australian wine figures

Chris Losh

Chris Losh

23 January 2018

Laura Jewell, regional director of Wine Australia for the UK & Europe
Laura Jewell, regional director of Wine Australia for the UK & Europe

Global wine exports from Australia might be at their highest level in 10 years, but sales to the UK are in gentle decline, with the on-trade proving particularly difficult.

According to figures released today by Wine Australia, total wine exports are up 15% to AU$2.5bn, but much of that growth has been driven by increased demand from China. In the last 12 months, exports to the UK have seen a dip of AU$348m (£219m) in 2017.

The on-trade remains a particularly stubborn nut to crack, according to Laura Jewell MW, head of Wine Australia for the UK and Europe.

‘We are seeing success in parts of the on-trade in the UK – sommeliers and white tablecloth restaurants, for instance,' she said. 'But we’re finding it hard to get cut through in national chains. At the lower end, we are struggling.’

This seems to be borne out by results at the Sommelier Wine Awards. Last year, Australia had the highest share of Gold Medals in the competition at 18%, suggesting that sommeliers like the new style of wines. Yet the country is still losing listings in pubs and bar chains.

Jewell cited the rise of Picpoul, Prosecco and rosé as making life particularly difficult for Australia. All three are big sellers in the mass-market on-trade, but Australia cannot compete stylistically in any of these areas.

Salvation might come from the travails of their European counterparts. Australia had it’s biggest vintage for 10 years in 2017 – the only large producing country in the world to have a normal year – and is seeing a spike in demand from importers, who are unable to source cheaper wines from France, Spain or Italy.

Wine Australia is holding its Australia Day tasting in London today and in Edinburgh on 25 January.




Related articles


English Wine Producers announce 2016 harvest figures

With its annual trade and press tasting taking place today in central London, the English Wine Producers announced its 2016 UK harvest figures.Reveali


The mighty Oz: Australian wine

New styles, new varieties, more sensitivity, and less oak and alcohol are creating something magical in Australia’s wine scene.


UK gloomy as Australia dips in on-trade

Australia's presence in the UK on-trade tumbled last year, according to figures released by Accolade Wines at the Australia Day Tastings in London tod


Swiss Wine Exporters set sights on UK on-trade

UK restaurants will be seeing a lot more Swiss wine in the years to come, if Swiss Wine Exporters have anything to say about it. Gilles Besse, preside