Spain Sells More Wine Than Anyone, But Is It Leaving Money on the Table?

By Justine Sterling Posted March 03, 2016

Spain is selling the most wine but it's not making the most money.

According to a new report, Spain has overtaken France in global wine sales. You might think that would be something to celebrate, but the victory is bittersweet. While Spain did outsell France by nearly half a billion liters, the money it made paled in comparison. French wine sales amounted to 8 billion euros ($8.7 billion) with Spanish wine accruing just 2.6 billion euros ($2.8 billion). That’s because most of Spain’s wines are sold in bulk, which doesn’t attract the same kind of price tag as a fine, estate-bottled Bordeaux.

“Italy was in the same situation as Spain 15 years ago, but now Italian producers have doubled their average price,” Rafael del Rey, the head of the Spanish Wine Market Observatory, told the Independent. Indeed, Italian wine sales also eclipsed Spain’s last year, coming in at 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion), nearly doubling Spain’s total. “We need to sell less wine in bulk to other producers and more Spanish wine that indicates origin,” del Rey said. “The Spanish wine industry will look very different in 10 years’ time.”

One idea for Spain: Promote its wine as a longevity potion. 107-year-old Antonio Docampo credited his long life to the four bottles of Spanish wine he drank daily.

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