Wine industry faces stiff competition

Domestic wine production is at a crucial point, as the incursion of wines from overseas (Chile, California, Australia, etc) into Europe has upset the plans of companies and forced them to think about upgrading their installations and equipment. A Hellastat survey on the sector found the value of local production at 189.3 million euros in 2005, down by 3 percent from 2004. The National Statistics Service (NSS) production index stood at 105.5 points last year, down by 9.8 percent since 2004 on the back of another 8.3 percent decline in 2003. The Greek wine trade balance remained positive at 33.1 million euros but less than the 38.8 million euros in 2004, as exports shrank by 6.6 percent, while imports grew by 6 percent. The 71 wine companies monitored by Hellastat earned revenues of 262 million euros last year, from 287 million euros in 2004, that is, an 8.8 percent drop. Operating profits remained at 40.4 million euros, while net pretax profits declined from 11.96 million euros in 2004 to 9.14 million euros in 2005.