National Liquor News June 2019

Page 29


AUSTRALIA’S PREMIUM CHARDONNAY INCREASING IN DEMAND Peter Bailey, Manager Market Insights at Wine Australia, discusses the popularity and growth of Chardonnay both in Australia and globally.


ustralian Chardonnay has enjoyed the wine sector’s highs and weathered its lows with resilience, and it continues to hold a special place among Australian wine lovers. It remains Australia’s top white variety and is second overall behind Shiraz. In 2018, 408,000 tonnes of Chardonnay were crushed across Australia, which made up 47 per cent of the total white winegrape crush. The second largest white variety was Sauvignon Blanc with 93,000 tonnes followed by Pinot Gris/Grigio with 76,000 tonnes. The volume of Chardonnay still table wine exported from Australia has been on the rise, from 149 million litres in 2011 to 185 million litres in 2018. The United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) are the two biggest destinations, with each taking in more than 60 million litres of Australian Chardonnay in 2018. Chardonnay is the second biggest selling wine in the UK behind Sauvignon Blanc and is Australia’s biggest selling wine in the market ahead of Shiraz. According to IRI Worldwide, in 2018, the sale of Australian Chardonnay in the

UK off-trade market increased by four per cent in value. More than 90 per cent of Australian Chardonnay is sold at under £7 per bottle and sales increased by four per cent. The strongest rate of growth for Australian Chardonnay came at £9 or more per bottle, up 35 per cent, but only 0.4 per cent of total Australian Chardonnay sales were in this price segment. In the USA, Chardonnay is the second biggest selling wine behind Cabernet Sauvignon and is Australia’s number one wine ahead of Cabernet Sauvignon. In the 12 months ended March 2019, sales of Australian Chardonnay in the USA off-trade increased by eight per cent in value, with the strongest growth rates coming at US$15 per bottle and above, albeit off a relatively small base (0.1 per cent share of Australian Chardonnay sales). Ninety-five per cent of Australian Chardonnay sales in the USA are at US$4.00–7.99 per bottle and sales increased by five per cent in the price segment. According to IRI Worldwide, the value of Chardonnay sales in the Australian off-trade market was flat in 2018. Chardonnay is the second biggest selling white table wine behind

Sauvignon Blanc. However, Chardonnay outsells Sauvignon Blanc at A$20 or more per bottle ($48 million in sales versus $37 million). The value of Chardonnay sales grew by 10 per cent at A$20.00–29.99 and by eight per cent at A$30.00–49.99 per bottle. In contrast, Sauvignon Blanc sales grew by four per cent at A$20.00–29.99 but declined by four per cent at A$30.00–49.99. Analyses of online wine offers in Australia illustrates the status of Chardonnay as a premium and sought-after variety, with around four times the number of listings as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris/Grigio and more than double the average list price. The highest price for any Australian Pinot Gris/ Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc was found to be between $30 and $40 per bottle, whereas for still Chardonnay the highest price was $189.99 and 15 per cent of listings were over $100 per bottle. The only variety to come close was Semillon, with 25 per cent of listings over $100 per bottle and an average listing price around $10 higher than for Chardonnay (but far fewer products).


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