German exporters plan UK growth

The German Wine Institute

aims to grow

German wines' UK market share back up to 5 per cent by focusing on exporting better-quality wines.

A run of good vintages

and increased interest from producers means

Britain is becoming more of a priority for German wine exporters, according to

Institute export marketing director Steffen Schindler.

German wine sales in the UK off-trade were worth £161 million in the year to May 19 (Nielsen), down 6 per cent on the previous year and representing 3.6 per cent of the market.

Speaking to OLN at the

Riesling Fellowship dinner, held at the German Embassy in London last week, Schindler said the institute's focus will be on growing value gradually. It will concentrate on improving quality rather than competing on price with larger wine-producing countries.

"If we can have 4 or 5 per cent of the market by value, we'd be happy. We've had a run of good vintages since 2000 and that has helped to change the perception of German wine."

He added: "We want to export better wines that have an average bottle price of more than £5."

Schindler said the major obstacles for German wine in the UK will be "to overcome preconceived ideas and to market German wines simply".

He continued: "The second is the job of the producers, and we are starting to see that happen. Labels are getting classier and easier to understand.

"A younger generation of winemakers is coming through, and they have travelled and worked abroad so they understand it. That's what people need in the UK market." Germany's 2007 vintage was "above average in both yield and quality", he added.

Research into the expression of terroir in Riesling wines was presented by scientist Angela Bauer at the


The research revealed that the soil, aspect and climate of various German vineyard sites has a "discernable effect on the aroma and taste profiles of Riesling wines".