April 24 (Bloomberg) -- World wine trade rose 11 percent by value to a record last year as imports into China surged, Italian researcher Istituto di Servizi per il Mercato Agricolo e Alimentare said.
The global trade expanded to 22.7 billion euros ($29.9 billion) from 20.5 billion euros in 2010, the Rome-based group wrote in a report on its website today. The U.S. was the biggest buyer of foreign wine, followed by the U.K.
Rising incomes in China are boosting demand for luxury goods such as wine as well as meat and dairy products. The country has become the biggest wine market by volume outside Europe and the U.S., with consumption jumping to 17 million hectoliters (449 million gallons) last year, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine said last month.
“At this pace China, which has only realized part of its potential, could soon get closer to the two major wine importers,” Ismea wrote. “Only five years ago it was in 20th place among wine-importing countries. Today it’s in the top-five list of big spenders.”
China’s wine purchases jumped 72 percent to 1.04 billion euros from 604 million euros in 2010, Ismea reported. The volume of wine shipped in rose 28 percent to 3.66 million hectoliters, the researcher wrote.
Imports into the U.S. climbed 8.1 percent to 3.46 billion euros as volumes rose 8.3 percent to 10.2 million hectoliters, according to Ismea. U.K. wine purchases gained 5.3 percent to 3.43 billion euros, while the quantity rose 3.3 percent to 13.3 million hectoliters.
“Despite one of the worst crises on a global level, wine demand not only held but even increased,” Ismea wrote.
Germany was the third-largest wine importer last year, with shipments to Europe’s largest economy climbing 10 percent to 2.31 billion euros and volumes advancing 7.2 percent to 15.9 million hectoliters.
Canadian wine imports rose 6.1 percent to 1.37 billion euros and volumes increased 2.4 percent to 3.48 million hectoliters, according to Ismea.
France was the biggest wine exporter by value last year, accounting for 32 percent of the market, according to Ismea. It had a 14 percent share by volume. The country’s shipments rose 13 percent to 7.1 billion euros, with volumes climbing 14 percent to 14.2 million hectoliters.
“Benefiting from the Chinese buying pressure has been especially France, which last year reached a market share in value of more than 50 percent of imports,” Ismea wrote.
Wine exports by Italy, the second-biggest seller, climbed 12 percent to 4.4 billion euros on volumes up 24 percent to 23.5 million hectoliters, the Ismea data showed. Spain’s sales rose 15 percent to 2.16 billion euros as its wine shipments climbed 22 percent to 21.8 million hectoliters, according to the researcher.
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