Karl Storchmann and Günter Schamel Germany is the eighth-largest wine producer in the world and is well known for its white wines such as Riesling or Müller-Thurgau. For more than a decade, vineyard area and production levels have remained virtually unchanged. However, there have been significant structural changes in the industry. The proportion of red varieties planted in Germany has grown from 16 per cent to over 26 per cent, while mass-produced white varieties are declining, and production is increasingly focusing on premium quality. Germany is also the world’s fourth largest consumer market for wine. More than two-thirds of all households buy wine, which is the only alcoholic beverage with an increasing per capita consumption. However, as Germans consume more reds, the share of domestic wine in total sales keeps falling and, in 2000, red wine overtook white wine consumption. Discount stores dominate wine retailing, capturing over 37 per cent of total wine sales and 75 per cent of foreign wine sales. The percentage of higherpriced wines sold in Germany is very low, with only about one-eighth of sales at prices above 7 euros per standard bottle size. Almost 40 per cent of all domestically produced wine is sold directly by producers or their cooperatives. Germany now imports more than half of its domestic wine consumption. New World producers are gaining ground relative to traditional European suppliers. Only about 25 per cent of German production is exported, half of which goes to the UK. High-quality exports mostly go...
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