British think Austria is land of Sound of Music rather than wine!
In spite of the fact that exports of Austrian bottled wines soared 30% last year, growth in the UK is being limited. That’s because we British think of Austria as a place for skiing, mountains and the Sound of Music rather than wine, according to Susanne Staggl, PR and marketing manager of the Austrian Winemarketing Board.
Having said that, we are importing more of the country’s wine, but the growth is from a small base. We imported 211,000 litres last year, against Austria’s total exports of 56 million litres, with a value of more than 105 million euro, according to Statistik Austria. Germany imported the most, taking nearly 40m litres. Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the US are also top destinations, while the UK is among a handful of countries keen for more than before.
‘We are a small niche in a high-quality range,’ Susanne told ThirtyFifty, adding that 95% of wine coming to the UK is white and all is shipped in bottle.
However, there is another problem limiting the growth of Austrian wine here, believes Susanne. ‘Most times in store it is put in Eastern European and people can’t find it,’ she explained. This seems a shame when, she says, the country has ‘a new generation of shooting stars’.
‘We’ve got really good producers. Ten years ago we had 50 and now there are 600 offering wines at a really good price/quality ratio.’
She added that, ‘The major selling point for Austrian wine is that it is one of the best food wines, especially Gruner Veltliner. If you have a mid-weight, 13.5% wine, it just fits every dish. Gruner Veltliner is definitely our flagship grape. It’s the fresh alternative to Pinot Grigio and one of the grape varieties that doesn’t need oak to be perfect.’