Greek wine ex­ports post ma­jor gains out­side the EU

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY TA­NIA GEORGIOPOULOU

From retsi­nato 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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