Spain is a relative newcomer on the international circuit, compared to the French and Italians, yet it has beaten records to become the biggest wine exporter in the world.
According to data published by Spanish wine market observatory (Obervatorio Español de los Mercados del Vino – OEM) Spanish wine exports reached 22.8 million hectoliters in 2014, a 22.3 percent rise on the previous year. But while the volume of sales has increased, profits have fallen 2.2 percent since 2013.
France is now the biggest buyer of Spanish wines; guzzling 5.8 million hectoliters in 2014, a 40 percent rise on the previous year, followed by Germany, Portugal and Russia.
Spain is home to the biggest vineyards in the world and has always sold in bulk to its neighbours, rather than bottled wine, but profits are falling – the latest figures reveal that in 2014 the average price was 40 cents per litre, compared to 60 cents the year before.
One important factor in why Spanish wines are so cheap compared to their competitors, according to Nairy Chaglasyan, area manager for wine exporter J García Carrión, is that Spain opened up to the international market relatively late.
"Both France and Italy have a much better international presence, they have more experience in marketing their products and have been exporting for much longer than Spanish producers."
According to Chaglasyan, if Spain wants to keep its crown as the world’s biggest exporter along with increasing profits, the country has to work on selling itself and its wine, focusing less on the distinct regions of the country and pushing Spanish wine as a whole.
Do you prefer Spanish or Italian wines? Follow the debate on our Facebook page.
Jessica Jones ([email protected])