Spain, despite being the largest vineyard in the world with 941,086 hectares, 13% of the world total, we are the third-largest wine producer in the world and the second-largest exporter in terms of volume. Moreover, of the nearly 4300 wineries that exist in Spain, 71% of these are exporters and our wines are sold in 189 countries, according to figures from the Spanish Wine Federation. Within these 189 countries to which we export our wine, the most relevant are the United Kingdom in terms of volume and the United States in terms of value.
Although in recent years wineries have opted for Latin American and Asian markets, Álvaro Giménez, CEO of the consulting firm specializing in internationalization, Giménez & Sigwald Wine Associates, revealed the advantages of the U.S. market over the rest. The United States imported more than 400 million dollars worth of Spanish wine, an increase of 30.32% over the previous year. This market offers a great margin for growth since Spanish wine only represents 5.8%; in addition, "the American client seeks to establish a lasting relationship, which brings loyalty and a vision of the future”, Giménez assures. The American consumer has a great wine culture, so positioning Spanish wine is much easier given the degree of appreciation of good wine.
Many industry sources expect wine exports to the United States to exceed 1 billion in five years. Moreover, this opportunity will be much more noticeable among smaller wineries. The keys to success in achieving this 1 billion figure are variety, quality, personality, type of grape and price.
Today, American consumers are looking for innovation and variety in the wine they drink. Spanish wineries, despite having resisted change for many decades, can claim to produce "modern wines". Some distributors are already quitting commercializing big winery wines and opting for those coming from small wineries.
"In Spain we produce great wines that have good opportunities in the U.S. market, but it is essential to know how to arrive with a solid strategy, with well-defined objectives and audiences" - Álvaro Giménez
Quality is another major determinant for American buyers. In addition, they are aware that our wine is at the level of Italian and French wines, being considerably cheaper. Spanish bottled wine is sold at an average of €2.83 per liter, while Italian wine is sold at €3.82 and French wine at €6.56.
The next two criteria go hand in hand, personality and grape type. Wines with less wood, but more aroma, spices or flowers convince the most demanding public. Likewise, importers are demanding more space for grape type on the label, above the winery name.
Finally, the price, which despite the fact that we are struggling to increase, we will continue to have a good margin of increase, since the consumer can absorb an increase of one euro without major problems.
It may be scary to enter the U.S. market as a small winery, but the timing is perfect. Thanks to the current predisposition of importers, the elimination of tariffs imposed in 2019 by the trade dispute and new digital platforms create an ideal environment for internationalization to be successful.