As shown by the data of the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics concerning the export of alcoholic products*, the value of wine beverages exported from Poland is significantly growing. According to the experts from the Association of Employers – The Polish Wine Council, this results from the higher quality of the exported goods. This situation reflects what is currently going on in the wine industry – cheap, low-quality products are becoming a thing of the past.
As late as the year 2000, the exports of wine products were very low, almost of token amount – less than 1 million litres. “The situation has considerably changed ever since,” says Magdalena Zielińska, the President of the Association of Employers – The Polish Wine Council. “The report shows that more than 27 million litres of wine products left Poland last year. Although we observed certain stagnation in terms of quantity in 2018, a great leap forward was made in terms of value, which increased by as much as 33% (to EUR 31 million). This situation reflects what is currently happening on the wine market – cheap, low-quality products are becoming a thing of the past,” Magdalena Zielińska comments. As for the first half of 2019, preliminary data evidenced an increase in volume by 12.6% (to 14.3 million litres) in relation to the analogous period of the previous year.
What do we sell abroad? These goods are mainly high-quality products from the group of fermented wine beverages – including fruit wines, ciders or meads. To put it shortly – the core of Poland’s wine production.
More than a dozen countries in the European Union, Chile, Australia, Canada, the USA – these are the export destinations of the products of Bartex. Grzegorz Bartol, the Vice-president of the company, says they mainly include apple wines, sparkling wines and BIO products. “The market of BIO wine products in Poland is just emerging but it will develop rapidly. The consciousness and wealth of our consumers is growing every year. Currently, our products with BIO certificates are mainly sold on foreign markets indeed,” Grzegorz Bartol says. Currently, approx. 10% of all Bartex revenues are comprised by products intended for export. “15 years ago, we were mostly selling sweet wines in elaborate bottles to the neighbouring countries. Today, our customers look for better-quality wines in original packaging,” Grzegorz Bartol explains.
This is confirmed by Anna Kalinowska, Production and Investment Director at Henkell Freixenet Polska Sp. z o.o., providing an entire list of countries to which her company exports vermouths and high-quality fruit wines: “These are countries of Eastern Europe, such as Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania; Central Europe, e.g. the Czech Republic; and Western Europe – Germany, the UK, the Netherlands. We also export to Middle Eastern countries, such as Israel, and to the USA,” Anna Kalinowska says proudly.
Another company betting on intense development of exports is the JNT Group. It has already been selling its products to more than 30 countries on five continents. “Our flagship export product is the Monte Santi brand whose international character allows it to quickly gain popularity in more countries,” says Jakub Nowak, the President of the Management Board of the JNT Group S.A. Sp. K. “Another important export product is the Grzaniec Galicyjski mulled wine, much missed by the Polish diaspora. Poles abroad are willing to reach for this drink.
For two years, exports of the JNT Group have been growing in steps. “In 2018, we doubled its value, and we will reach high growth rates, this year as well. Currently, we are opening a lot of new directions, but it should be kept in mind that export processes can be very protracted. They usually last for between 3 and 12 months until the agreement is concluded,” Jakub Nowak explains. He admits that the company’s strategy assumes intense development on foreign markets, including opening of branch offices outside Poland.
It is worth mentioning the interest in Polish grape wine and domestic vineyards. JF Hillebrand, a global logistic operator specialized in Intercontinental transportation of spirits, receives such inquiries from time to time, along with requests for samples of beverages from Polish vineyards. “Sometimes we order a bottle of a specific wine from a specific vineyard on individual request from British or German customers. But such amounts are still negligible,” says Izabela Dąbrowska from JF Hillebrand. “It would be a wonderful moment in the history of our company to pump wine from Polish vineyards into a large container – an ISO tank or a Flexi tank – and to carry it to another country of the world,” Izabela Dąbrowska concludes.
Currently, virtually all of the grape wine leaving Poland does so as a part of reexport.