January 20, 2009 / 12:47 AM / in 9 years

FACTBOX: Australia's wine industry set back by financial crisis

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia’s wine exports have suffered an 18 percent decline by value in 2008, delivering the first setback for 15 years as the global financial crisis hit.

Here are some facts about Australia’s wine export industry.

* Value: A$2.46 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2008, down 18 percent on 2007. Per liter value was A$3.53 (-7.6pct)

* Volume: 698 million liters (-11 pct). Around 62 pct of annual production is exported.

* Australia in 2004 was the world’s sixth largest producer, behind France, Italy, Spain, the United States and Argentina. But Australians drink only a small amount per head, sitting in 18th place, well behind top-placed Luxembourg, France, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia.

* Major Export Markets (ranked officially by volume)

1. United Kingdom worth A$805 mln, down 18.2 pct

2. USA worth A$674 mln, down 26.5 pct

3. Canada worth A$224 mln, down 20.5 pct

4. Denmark worth A$57 mln, up 14.2 pct

5. Germany worth A$47 mln, down 21.5 pct

6. Netherlands worth A$61 mln, down 24.5 pct

7. New Zealand worth A$80 mln, down 15.9 pct

8. China worth A$73 mln, up 32.2 pct

9. Ireland worth A$57 mln, down 22.9 pct

10. Belgium worth A$24 mln, down 8.0 pct

Major wine regions

* 173,776 hectares cultivated nationally for wine.

* South Australia grows 42pct, followed by New South Wales with 25pct, Victoria with 22pct. Other states including Tasmania, Western Australian and Queensland contribute.

* Varieties.

- White wines make up 42.1pct of Australia vineyard varieties. Reds account for 57.9pct.

- Red varieties include shiraz (25pct of total), followed by merlot and cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and newer varieties to Australia such as sangiovese, durif and tempranillo. Main white varieties include sauvignon blanc (13.8pct of total), riesling, pinot gris, chardonnay and viognier.

Sources: Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, www.winebiz.com.au, Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Reporting by Rob Taylor, editing by Megan Goldin

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