EXPORT OF WINE MAY REACH 800,000 HECTROLITRES
For the first time this year industrial processing of grapes is expected to exceed that of households. Wineries have purchased about 200,000 tons of grapes. Thus, about 160,000 tons will remain for the households. In 2002 wineries processed 164,000 tons of grapes, and 218,000 tons were processed by households. Due to the higher yield, however, industrially produced wine exceeded 1,000,000 hectolitres last year, while home-made wine totalled 900,000 hectolitres. Of the total quantity of wine from the 2003 grapes crop, about 75% will be table wines, and 25% - high-quality wine. Bulgarian good-quality wines from registered regions of appelation are mostly reds - over 65 per cent. The proportion is similar for table wines - more than 55% are reds and the remaining - whites. The export of wine registered a drop in recent years (2000-2002). However, the forecasts this autumn show that last year's export volumes will be maintained, which means that the negative trend might be overcome in 2004. If Bulgaria succeeds to produce and exports about 800,000 hectolitres of good quality wine this year, the country will even mark a slight increase as compared to 2002 when the export totalled 780,000 hectolitres. The problem is if we will be able to win a niche on the prestigious EU market, where we have failed to utilize even the granted quotas for duty-free export for quite a long time. In 2002, for example, Bulgaria has utilized 61% of its quota for broached wine, 42% of the quota for bottled wine, and only 18% of the quota for sparkling wine. Things have not changed much since last year. As of September 1, 2003, only 49% of the quota for broached wine, 21% of the quota for bottled wine, and 8% of the quota for sparkling wine, have been fulfilled. The great competition and the decrease of prices are the main reasons for the decline in export, domestic wine-makers and traders claim. The average export price of Bulgarian wine dropped from USD0.87/litre in 2001 to USD0.85/litre in 2002 due to the advance of Australian, Chilean and South African brands. As a result of that situation, Bulgaria's export of bottled wine to France dropped 3-fold, that Denmark almost halved, and wine exports to Netherlands and Austria went down some 30 per cent. We still hold good positions on the markets in Great Britain and Germany, which account for over 70% of Bulgaria's export to the EU, and we are incrҐasing the export to Russia and the other countries of thҐ former Eastern bloc. Bulgaria's export of broached wine has been also decreasing over the last three years. In 2002 the country exported 17% less than in 2001, at USD0.51/litre. The only increase in that market segment - by 14% - is in the export to Russia.
According to exporters, Bulgaria should not miss its chance on the markets in Central and Eastern Europe. If we strengthen our positions there and raise the sales by another 30%, this means that we'd reach a market share of 2-5% and give Bulgarian wine-makers new opportunities for the sale of their output. Export of Bottled Wine to the EU Countries as of Sept. 1, 2003 (in hectolitres)Country QuantityGreat Britain 28,416Germany 19,858Sweden 5,690Netherlands 4,921Denmark 1,160Belgium 1,936France 254Finland 661Austria 294Others 183