From retsina to 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 period 2009-2016 sales of Greek wines have increased by 81.6% in the US, 90.7% in Canada, 555.9% in China, 104.9% in Australia and by 562% in Japan.
These impressive results of the push to promote Greek wine beyond the borders of the EU were presented at a recent event organized by the National Inter-Professional Organization of Vine and Wine of Greece (EDOAO).
In and of itself, the event 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 EU.
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% of all Greek wine exports remain in the EU, and only the remaining 16% is shipped outside of the union’s borders.
Quality and Quantity
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% over the period 2009-2016, 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 4.00 euros in 2016, an increase of 103.5%
There has been a corresponding increase in the value of Greek wines in the EU, even as the data show a decline in sales, a fact that indicates that Greek wines are seen as among the continent’s high-quality wines among 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.
The director of the department of Vineyards and Wine of the Ministry of Agricultural Development, Dionysis Grammatikos announced on Monday a new funding program for the improvement of Greece’s wines and the marketing of wine products. A total of 4,563,000 euros will be available.
Also present at the event was the Minister of Agricultural Development, Vangelis Apostolou who confirmed once again that the promise made by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to eliminate the special consumption tax on wine would be kept, although without giving any indication of when that was likely to happen.