Portugal: Wine exports to August up better-than-expected 13 pct YoY to €581 mln

Portugal’s wine exports in the first eight months of this year were up 13% on the same period a year earlier, more than expected, to €581 million, with an emphasis on certified wines, according to the main representative body for the sector, ViniPortugal.

“Total exports were 581 million euros, thirteen percent more than last year,” the president of ViniPortugal, Frederico Falcão, told Lusa on the occasion of the association’s 25th anniversary. 

Exports of certified table wines accounted for 46% of the total, followed by port wine (34%) and non-certified wines (17.4%). The rest consisted of other fortified wines, sparkling wines and musts. 

The year-on-year growth seen in the first eight months of the year compared with the 6% growth projected by the sector. 

“In the last 10 years we have a growth of 3.3 percent per year in value in exports and last year we grew 4.5 and this year to August we have grown thirteen,” Falcão noted. 

For this year as a whole, the association is expecting export growth of around 10%.

This year, ViniPortugal’s in-person promotional activities have been concentrated above all in September and October, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Among countries where Portuguese wines have been or are being promoted are Brazil, Mexico, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Russia. 

According to the ViniPortugal president, there are markets that it has not yet been possible to enter due to restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, such as the US, Canada, China and South Korea. 

“Even so, we are going to carry out actions in these markets, without the presence of producers,” he said. “Importers will be the ones representing the wines.” 

With regard to sales in Portugal itself, Falcão predicted a recovery driven in part by tourism, based on data from producers. By contrast, the most recent figures, from the first quarter, showed year-on-year declines of 36% in value and 13% in volume. 

Falcão also told Lusa that Brexit – the UK’s departure from the European Union – has not had the negative impact that was expected, with Portugal’s wine exports to that country in the first eight months of the year actually up 10% to €49.2 million. 

“We had some fear that Brexit could affect us with taxes and customs barriers,” he said. “The tax part is, for now, set aside. 

“In the beginning we felt some customs barriers because there were not very clear rules, which made it difficult for the wines to enter the market,” he explained. “Today these problems have been overcome.” 

ViniPortugal’s budget for this year foresees investments of around €8.2 million. For 2022, the budget has not yet been approved, as the vote in the general assembly is still pending, “but the figures are very much of that order,” according to Falcão. 

Founded in 1996, ViniPortugal is the Interprofessional Wine Organisation of Portugal. It is present in 21 markets, and responsible for managing the Wines of Portugal brand.