The strength of the Australian dollar is hurting Australia’s wine sales in the US and popular wines are being replaced by cheaper product from Argentina as well as flavour-of-the-month labels from New Zealand, according to Stuff.co.nz.
Leading wine producer Foster's is suffering greatly from the downturn, according to the report. Recent figures from ACNielsen show its sales in the US dropped 13% for the three months to November, the 14th consecutive month its revenue went backwards.
Its portfolio of Australian brands was even weaker, contracting 24%, according to ACNielsen, which collected data from US supermarkets, bottle shops and other shops.
But Australia's traditional wine enemy, France, has nothing to crow about as US drinkers have also bypassed its wines.
From a country perspective, Australian and French wines were the worst-performing wines in the three months to November, recording high single-digit value declines.
By contrast, Argentinian and New Zealand wines dominated, with 33% growth and 40% growth in value respectively.
Although the figures do not include sales at restaurants, pubs and cafes, they do capture roughly 25% of wine sales in the US.
The statistics showed total growth of 6% for wine sales in the period - reasonable growth given the recessionary conditions in North America - suggesting that more Americans were choosing to shop at supermarkets and stores to drink at home rather than dining out.
The relatively poor performance for Australian wines - particularly Foster's - comes as Foster's looks to demerge its wine and beer operations early in the new year.
Treasury Wine Estates, Foster's wine arm, has a large operation in the US.
Its flagship Beringer label is responsible for 50% of group wine revenue and profit in America. – Source: Stuff.co.nz