Premium Wine in the UK

Quality product combined with a compelling brand is behind South Australia’s strong wine export figures.

Accounting for 80% of Australia’s premium wine production and 60% of Australia’s total wine exports, it is fair to say that South Australia is at the forefront of Australia’s thriving wine sector. In 2017, the State delivered its best export earnings in a decade, with figures from Wine Australia revealing a sum of $1.56 billion in the 12 months to December 2017.

Much of this growth can be attributed to increased demand from China, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for imported wine. Yet despite remaining Australia’s largest wine export market by volume and third largest by value, demand in the UK has experienced a slight decline. Some of the challenges for South Australian producers in the UK market include the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit, increasing excises on alcohol, retail consolidation and a decline wine consumption.

However, at the top end of the market, it’s quite a different story. In good news for many South Australian producers, demand in the UK is growing for premium wines, in line with global trends towards premiumisation. Consumers are willing to pay more for a higher quality product. This market trend is not just about quality. The story behind the brand has become almost as important as the wine itself – consumers care about the origins, ethics and aspirations behind the wines they purchase.

The ability to combine wines of an exceptional quality with a strong brand story, is no doubt a driver to success. McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg Wines, who are already well established in the UK market, are an excellent example of this, combining a long-standing family tradition, sustainable practices, strong ties to the local region and of course, exceptional wines.

Alpha Box and Dice, another McLaren Vale brand drawing attention in the UK with their unconventional approach, produce wines with no ‘regional, varietal or stylistic’ boundaries, created holistically through minimal intervention and vegan friendly methods. They plan to craft a different wine for every letter of the alphabet, each wine having a story and eye-catching label to go with it. In doing so, they are effectively calling on consumers to engage with the brand and the aspirations it represents, not simply to buy and consume the wine.

Going hand in hand with the demand for premium wine in the UK is the increasing popularity of alternative varieties. According to Wine Australia, alternative varieties and blends showing growth in exports in 2017 include Malbec, Viognier/Roussanne, Viognier/Chardonnay, Durif, Verdelho, Tempranillo and Montepulciano.

If you are interested in learning more about wine export opportunities in the UK, please contact Trade and Events Manager Annabel Borchardt.

You can also take a look at our trade or food and wine pages on our website to learn more.