Trends in the German wine market


Where do Germans buy their wine and which wines are trending? The German Wine Institute (DWI) provided information on this at the opening press conference of the international wine fair ProWein in Düsseldorf.

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Online wine trade on the rise

The difficult economic conditions of the past year have also had an impact on the wine purchasing behaviour of many consumers. Low-income households in particular went without wine more often in 2023, while financially better-off households hardly reduced their wine consumption.

As the DWI reported on the basis of the NielsenIQ household panel, the online shops of wine producers and wine merchants performed best in the overall declining wine market in 2023. As a result, the online trade has gained two percentage points compared to 2022 and now has a market share of 13 per cent of all wine purchases.

In turn, food retailers lost market share to the same extent in 2023. Last year, 64 per cent of all wines were still purchased there. The discounters have lost one percentage point each with a market share of 37 per cent, as have the supermarkets with 27 per cent.

Direct sales from the producer continue to play an important role for German wines. 24 per cent of them were purchased from local wineries or their online shops.

Alcohol-free wines increasingly popular

Alcohol-free wines may still be a niche market, but they are reaching an increasingly broad consumer base. Last year, the non-alcoholic wine category found 27 per cent more buyers in the trade, which meant that sales also grew by 27 per cent. At 54 per cent, the turnover of non-alcoholic wines increased twice as much in the retail sector. This can be attributed to the fact that consumers were prepared to accept the generally higher price level of non-alcoholic wine variants, which is due to production-related volume losses and additional processing costs.

In absolute terms, however, the market share of non-alcoholic wines is still at a relatively low level. According to industry estimates, their share of the overall wine market is around one per cent.

Organic viticulture is growing

Organic viticulture has been recording continuous growth rates for many years. According to the DWI, this is confirmed by surveys conducted by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI), according to which organically cultivated vineyards grew to 13,800 hectares in 2022, which corresponds to an increase of 1,300 hectares compared to the previous year. This means that in 2022, 13.6 per cent of Germany's total vineyard area was used to produce organic wines. For 2023, the DWI expects a further increase in acreage.

Organic wine has a loyal customer base

The growing corona pandemic is also offset by a stable demand for wines from organic production. In last year's overall declining wine market, organic wines did not suffer any losses. They were able to maintain their market share of three per cent of all wine volumes purchased and four per cent of sales compared to the previous year.

New robust PIWI varieties in demand

The new robust PIWI grape varieties have been increasingly cultivated in both organic and conventional viticulture in recent years. Thanks to their natural resistance, they hardly require any plant protection and the wines have long since reached the quality level of traditional varieties. With the expansion of PIWI cultivation to around three per cent of the total German vineyard area, winegrowers in this country are responding to consumers' desire to buy more sustainable products.

White before red and rosé

The share of white, red, and rosé wines in the volume of wine purchased in 2023 has not changed compared to the previous year. White wines continued to dominate the German wine market with a volume market share of 47 per cent, red wines remained at 40 per cent and rosé wines held their own with a 13 per cent share of wine purchases.

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