Now, this is interesting, after living in Georgia for almost 8 years, visiting its winemaking region Kakheti quite often, visiting countless chateaux's and marani's across the country - I thought Georgia should be in the top 10 or something.

It was at the end of 2018 I noticed Georgian journalists proudly reporting Georgia as a top 20 wine exporting country.

At first, I thought - cool, and decided to see which are the rest of the countries, probably, France, Italy, Chile, defiantly USA, South Africa. Well, huge was my surprise seeing countries like Latvia and Lithuania ranking at top 20 well above for such wine producing countries like Georgia or Moldova.

Anyhow, according to the Worlds Top Exports

Global sales from wine exports by country amounted to US$35.5 billion in 2017.


Among continents, European countries accounted for the highest dollar value of wine exports during 2017 with shipments worth $25.2 billion or 71% of globally exported wine.
Oceania’s international wine sales, led by Australia and New Zealand, came in at 9.2% followed closely by Latin America (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean at 8%. Asia supplied 5.3% worth of worldwide wine exports while North America shipped 4.4%. Africa benefited from 2.1% of international wine sales.

Rank Exporter 2017 Wine Exports % World Total
1 France US$10.3 billion 29.10%
2 Italy $6.8 billion 19.10%
3 Spain $3.3 billion 9.20%
4 Australia $2.1 billion 5.80%
5 Chile $2 billion 5.70%
6 United States $1.5 billion 4.20%
7 New Zealand $1.2 billion 3.40%
8 Germany $1.1 billion 3.20%
9 Portugal $879.3 million 2.50%
10 Argentina $806.9 million 2.30%
11 United Kingdom $721.7 million 2%
12 South Africa $716.9 million 2%
13 Hong Kong $567.2 million 1.60%
14 Singapore $476.7 million 1.30%
15 China $436.1 million 1.20%
16 Netherlands $348.2 million 1%
17 Latvia $212.4 million 0.60%
18 Austria $187.8 million 0.50%
19 Lithuania $179.5 million 0.50%
20 Georgia $171 million 0.50%
21 Belgium $158.9 million 0.40%
22 Denmark $138.4 million 0.40%
23 Switzerland $129.4 million 0.40%
24 Moldova $128.4 million 0.40%
25 Hungary $103.3 million 0.30%

Wine export by country 2017, data source World Top Exports

I soon found that for such wine not producing countries like Latvia or Lithuania, the answer might be actually hidden in wine - re-export. 

Here is what I was able to find:

There are some cases though where anecdotal evidence overwhelmingly suggests a presence of re-export activity while firm-level trade data do not confirm this. For example, less than 10% of export of wine of fresh grapes is identified as re-exports in the post-crisis period, while it is known that Latvian companies do not produce either Bordeaux or Mosel.

Source: Evaluation of Latvia’s re-exports using firm-level trade data

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