BUSINESS

Greek wine exports post major gains outside the EU

TANIA GEORGIOPOULOU

TAGS: Business

From retsina to Assyrtiko wine, from the neighborhood taverna to major New York restaurants and from local papers to glowing articles in the New York Times, over the past decade Greek wine has made great strides in terms of international recognition.

Over the 2009-16 period, Greek wine sales have increased by 81.6 percent in the USA, 90.7 percent in Canada, 555.9 percent in China, 104.9 percent in Australia and 562 percent in Japan.

These impressive results in the campaign to promote Greek wine beyond the borders of the European Union were presented at a recent event organized by the National Inter-Professional Organization of Vine and Wine of Greece (EDOAO).

The event itself amounts to a step forward by Greek standards, as it is rare that programs to promote Greek products are assessed in practice with quantifiable data.

According to the statistics presented, the gains for Greek wines in the internal EU market aren’t quite as impressive in terms of sales, although that is perhaps to be expected given that equivalent promotional programs have not been implemented within the bloc.

According to the data, consumers in the UK have the greatest affinity for Greek wines, which is likely to be partly the result of trends in the US, the country that imports the largest quantity of wine worldwide. However, it is worth noting that 84 percent of all Greek wine exports are inside the EU, and only 16 percent is shipped outside of the Union’s borders.

Greek winemakers have not only seen increases in their sales abroad, but also in the prices buyers are willing to pay, a fact that demonstrates that the country is gaining recognition as a source of high-quality wines. In the US, for example, the average price of Greek wines increased by 41.3 percent over the 2009-16 period, with the average price per liter increasing from 2.80 euros to 4.40 euros. In China the average price per liter increased from 1.75 euros in 2009 to 4 euros in 2016, an increase of 103.5 percent.

There has been a corresponding increase in the prices of Greek wines in the EU, even as the data show a decline in sales, a fact that indicates that Greek wines are viewed as among the continent’s high-quality wines by a large section of the oenophile public.

“The international rhetoric and the image of Greek wine has shifted completely due to the efforts that have been made,” said Kostas Arkoumanis on behalf of Wine of Greece during the presentation of the results.

Last week, the director of the Department of Vineyards and Wine at the Agricultural Development Ministry, Dionysis Grammatikos, announced a new 4.56-million-euro funding program for the improvement of Greece’s wines and the marketing of wine products.

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