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US tops wine import leaderboard

The US laps up French and Italian wine, according to market data...

Data from Tridge, a food and agricultural products sourcing platform and market data provider, shows that the US imports more wine (still, sparkling and fortified, as well as grape must) by value than any other country. Data shows that the country imported wine worth $6.5B in both 2018 and 2019, although this fell to $5.9B in 2020.

The United Kingdom is the next-biggest importer, having brought in $4.4B worth of wine, a value that remained stable in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Germany is the third biggest importer of wine, valued at $2.9B in 2020, a slight decline from $3B the previous year.

China’s wine imports have fallen from a peak in 2017 of $3.3B to just $1.8B in 2020 – partly a result of strict lockdown measures as well as of the intensifying US-China trade war.

So who is benefitting from all of this wine trade? The data shows that France is the world’s largest exporter, having traded $9.1B of wine beyond its borders in 2020 (down from $11B in 2019), followed by Italy ($7.2B; no change from 2019) and Spain ($3.1B; up from $3B in 2019).

French wine exports

The France to US trade route is the world’s most valuable, even though the value dropped from $2.1B in 2019 to $1.8B in 2020, likely a result of the hefty wine tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in 2019.

The third most valuable trade route in the world is from France to the UK – a historic route which has kept the British in drink for hundreds of years. It is France’s second most valuable source of income from wine trade, valued at $1.3B in 2020, although a gradual decline from $1.8B in 2012 suggests English wine is slowly taking market share as the UK industry matures.

The France to Japan wine trade accounted for $854.3m in 2020, up from $648.3 the previous year.

Italy wine exports

Unlike the France to Italy trade route, the Italy to US trade route has held firm at $1.7B since 2018 as the country’s wines escaped the punitive tariffs imposed by the US on French, German Spanish and UK wine imports.

The Italy to Germany trade route is valued at a steady $1.2B, while the country’s exports to the UK have fallen slightly from a peak of $959.1m in 2018 to $817m in 2020.

UK wine exports

UK wine trade rose in value from $698.1m in 2012 to $838.3m in 2019, although the effects of the pandemic reduced the value of exports to $685.1m in 2020. The country’s key export markets are Hong Kong ($194.1m in 2020), Ireland ($78.2m), the Netherlands ($61.3m) and the US ($56.2m).

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