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Margaret River bolsters Western Australia export figures

The value of bottled wine exports from Western Australia – excluding the Margaret River appellation – fell by 41% in 2012, Wine Australia has revealed.

Leeuwin Estate: ‘benefited from Chinese tourism’

Bottled wine exports from the region fell from AUS$12.9m to AUS$7.6m, according to the December 2012 Wine Export Approval Report released this month.

Margaret River was the only appellation that had shown an increase in export value, rescuing the region from recording an overall decline.

Overall, Western Australia’s total wine export value rose from AUS$23.7m to AUS$26.2m in 2012, a lower than expected increase.

However, Wines of Western Australia general manager Aymee Mastaglia downplayed any notion that the region’s export value was in rapid decline.

‘I think the figures are a little misleading – between 2010 and 2011 WA experienced a very large growth in export sales, from AUS$33m up to AUS$43.m.

‘Although WA companies in general experienced a decline from the previous year, the total figure is larger than in 2010,’ Mastaglia told Decanter.com.

Mastaglia said that the growth was being largely generated from Margaret River wine exports to Asia, and in particular China, which is now Margaret River’s biggest market.

According to IWSR figures released in 2012, Australia recorded an overall 37% increase in wine sales to China in 2011, and is the second largest wine exporter to China, after France.

Simone Horgan-Furlong, marketing manager for Leeuwin Estate, said that the region had also greatly benefited from Chinese tourism.

‘As a result of the growing Chinese interest in wine tourism, our cellar door visits are rapidly increasing,’ he said.

Wines of Western Australia said that the top WA brands in China by volume included Cape Mentelle, Ferngrove, Howard Park, Leeuwin and West Cape Howe Wines.

‘The Great Southern region is also doing very well, they have a major push into the second tier cities in China at the moment,’ Mastaglia added.

Written by James Lawrence

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