Asia and North America are driving growth of wine imports

The 2017 IWSR/Vinexpo annual report on the global wine market – considered to be the most comprehensive survey of its kind – identifies several key wine market trends until 2020, including the growing strength of the Chinese market, fast growth of wine exports from France, Italy and Spain and an increasingly marked preference amongst consumers for quality over quantity in several markets, including the UK.

Global consumption of still and sparkling wines is forecast to increase in volume by 1.9% between 2016 and 2020, primarily due to +12.7% growth in the Asia Pacific and +3.9% growth in the American continent.

One of the most striking findings is that China will surpass the US as the world’s biggest wine importer, in volume, due to a huge 79.3% growth.

Although not directly analysed in the report, these trends are likely to lead to the reinforced use of cork, because the fastest growing export markets have a high percentage use of cork closures and the preference revealed for quality over quantity in several markets has consistently been shown to benefit cork stoppers.

In the US – the world’s biggest wine consumption market – the market share of cork-sealed wines has grown significantly over the last 5 years and now stands at 61%, and according to recent market research, 94% of wine consumers prefer natural cork stoppers.

A recent survey of Chinese wine consumers by CTR Market Research revealed that 85% of respondents believe that cork-sealed wines have high quality and 84% said they would prefer wines with natural cork stopper as closure when purchasing wines.

Market analysis throughout the world has consistently shown that consumers identify cork with quality, prefer cork for higher quality wines and are willing to pay a premium for cork-sealed wines. Since 2010 cork closures have recorded significant growth in terms of overall sales and market share. Natural cork continues to be the most popular and highest quality wine closure, with almost seven in every ten bottles worldwide now finished with cork.

The IWSR/Vinexpo report – which covers still wine and sparkling wine consumption trends across 45 countries from 2010 to 2020 – revealed that French, Italian and Spanish wines are the world leaders in terms of export value.

Exports of French wines have grown by +9.5% since 2010 and were worth US$ 22.227 billion in 2015 – representing 28.5% of global wine exports. Wine exports from Italy and Spain have grown even faster – with 17.6% and 21.7% growth respectively, now representing 16% and 8.2% of global wine exports.

Australian wines have grown by 2.1% and fell from third to fourth place over this period. Europe’s global market share is falling due to higher growth in Asia, America, and Africa. In 2010 Europe was responsible for 64% of still wine consumption, and 80% of sparkling wine consumption, which is forecast to fall to 59% and 76% respectively by 2020.

China is the fastest-growing market by volume, with forecast growth of 19.5% between 2016 and 2020, when it will represent 7% of the global wine market -the fifth largest market in volume.

As well as becoming the world’s biggest wine import market in volume by 2020, due to 79.3% growth of wine imports, in terms of sales, China will replace the UK as the world’s second most valuable import market.

By 2020, sales of still and sparkling wine in China will rise to US$ 21 billion, whereas sales in the UK will fall from US$ 15.8 billion in 2015 to US$ 15.5 billion

in 2020. The US remains the world’s single biggest wine market in terms of total consumption and import sales, and by 2020 will be the world’s second-biggest import market in volume, following China. The US will also record significant growth of wine consumption, with forecast 4.9% growth in this period, rising to 13.5% of the global wine market in volume by 2020.

The US wine industry also continues to record significant growth of exports. US wine exports grew by 15.2% between 2011 and 2015, ranking the country as the world’s sixth largest wine exporter. Further growth is expected by 2010 and in 2017 the US is expected to surpass France (3rd) and Italy (4th) as the second largest wine supplier to the UK.

All this is good news for cork stoppers, since the fastest-growing wine markets – in terms of overall consumption, and imports and exports – reveal a clear preference for cork.

These trends are expected to continue to power significant growth for Corticeira Amorim, the world’s leading cork producer, which topped 3 billion cork stoppers in 2010, surpassed 4 billion in 2014, and continues to record rising sales in the world’s key wine markets.


(Article featured in collaboration with Amorim)

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