8 Germany

13 July, 2007

Market share by value: 3.6

per cent

Last year's rank: 8

Last year's market share: 4

per cent

Sales value: £161 million

Change

on last year: -6

per cent

With all the excitement surrounding the top Rieslings from the widely-praised 2006 and 2005 vintages, you could be forgiven for thinking

Germany has

begun to dispel its bargain basement image. It's certainly true that fine German wine is in greater demand now than

for more than a decade. The clamour is mainly for Riesling, but there's

growing interest in Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris).

That's one

side of the tale. The other

is less cheerful

- the

country's overall sales performance in the UK is still on the slide and

in danger of being overtaken by New Zealand . Wines of Germany argues

this is part of the "repositioning"

towards drier styles at higher prices, but it's a

slow process.

There are

signs of encouragement. Value is declining less rapidly than volume, suggesting

the major losses are below £3. Over £4, sales have grown

28 per cent over the last two years, with

strongest growth in the £6-£7 range (+124 per cent), precisely

where producers such as Loosen and Leitz have been so successful . But Germany's £2.64 average bottle price

suggests

there are still a lot of Liebfraumilch drinkers .




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