Centuries-old wine tradition celebrated in Nave do Barão

Wine exports “reduce significantly”

Logistical difficulties and ‘increases in prices’ see exports grow “just 0.28%”

Portugal’s wine exports – so recently robust – have suddenly come crashing down, at least in Europe…

After two-digit growth through 2021, exports have seen just 0.28% growth in the first four months of 2022.

Sales in terms of volume have fallen 3.63%, writes Dinheiro Vivo – a drop of four million litres compared to the same period last year – while average prices per litre have grown 4.6%.

For Jorge Monteiro, president of ACIBEV (the Portuguese wines and spirits association), it’s not an issue of Portugal’s competitiveness, but more a general ‘cooling of international trade’.

He told the online that in terms of markets, the four major destinations: France, the United States, UK and Brazil are receding, as is the “whole European bloc”.

Vinho verde has lost 8% in the process; sparkling wines 28.7%, but Dão Barrada and Douro wines have grown 1.4%; Port wine is selling 1.1% more than it was last year (bringing in more than €60 million) and cheaper wines, like ‘bag in a box’ varieties are also holding strong.

Jorge Monteiro considers the cooling in exports to be an effect of the war in Ukraine, pointing to a fall in demand from countries closest to the conflict: Germany, Norway and Sweden. Russian business too has plummeted 57.5%… but there are upsides which see Canada importing 8.4% more Portuguese wines, Poland 3.5% more – while Angola, Japan and Mexico have all increased demand as well.

In other words, if it wasn’t for markets outside Europe, Portugal’s figures would look a great deal worse.

And Monteiro isn’t prepared to assess the entire year on the basis of the first four months.

“We are not falling”, he told DV. “We are simply growing less than hoped. The truth is there continues to be problems with containers that create delays of two to three months – and there is a generalised shortage of pallets within the market which may have contributed to this cooling of exports”.

Inflation too is playing its part, increasing production costs by between 10-20%, he said.

As to the future, and how it goes: “We will have to see how the price of grapes evolves in the next harvest”, he said (which comes in August/ September in a year that has been seriously impacted by less than average rainfall).

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com