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Evolution of the Wine Sector in the 21st Century

The weight of the different Spanish regions in wine exports has changed radically over the last two decades. The earthquake that the wine sector has undergone from 2000 to the present day has produced a very different scenario, with Castilla-La Mancha becoming the undisputed leading power, Catalonia relegated to second place and Andalusia condemned to an unparalleled decline. Furthermore, La Rioja, the Comunidad Valenciana and the Basque Country have managed to remain in the 'leading group', while the Region of Murcia has made a spectacular irruption. 


The report "Wine exports by autonomous communities and provinces 2000-2020", prepared by the Spanish Wine Market Observatory (OeMv) for the Spanish Wine Interprofessional Organisation (OIVE), clearly shows how Castilla-La Mancha has become the absolute export leader in terms of both volume and value. And it has done so, moreover, by establishing an insurmountable distance from its competitors.

In 2000, Castilla-La Mancha exported 380 million litres of wine worth 204 million euros. At that time, its wine exports represented a third of the volume and 14.9% of the value of the whole of Spain. Today, the world's largest wine-producing region accounts for 52% of the volume and 26% of the national value. The unstoppable growth of Castilla-La Mancha has caused many victims who have seen their specific weight within the Spanish exports as a whole decrease at the same rate as their percentage of representation in the total. 


The evolution in terms of value

At the top of the economic ranking, Catalonia has lost the first place it had held for many decades. In 2000, it was still the undisputed leader in terms of value. It exported wine products worth 359 million euros, 155 million more than Castilla-La Mancha, which, with 204 million euros, was in second place, just behind La Rioja (156 million), which completed the podium, almost tied with Andalusia (154 million) and ahead of the Comunidad Valenciana (136 million) and the Basque Country (89 million). Spanish wine exports that year amounted to 1,366 million and, of this amount, Catalonia accounted for 26.2% (more than one out of every four euros), well ahead of Castilla-La Mancha (14.9%), La Rioja (11.3%), Andalusia (11.2%), Valencia (9.9%) and the Basque Country (6.50%).

Spain's top six wine regions accounted for 80% of foreign sales. They were followed by Navarre (4.1%), Aragon (3.54%), Castilla and Leon (3.38%), Extremadura (3.04%), Murcia (2.89%), Madrid (1.09%), Galicia (1.26%), Canary Islands (0.15%), Balearic Islands (0.04%), Asturias (0.02%), Cantabria (0.002%) and the section called 'Others' (0.15%). 


A very different distribution 20 years later

Today, the economic 'cake' of foreign sales of Spanish wine products is distributed very different way. In 2020, Castilla-La Mancha accounted for 761 million euros, far ahead of Catalonia which, with 528 million euros, has been relegated to second place. Immediately after are La Rioja (332 million), Comunidad Valenciana (261 million), País Vasco (207 million) and Murcia (186 million).

As can be seen, in this period Andalusia has disappeared from the 'noble part' of the ranking and Murcia has burst onto the scene as the sixth largest wine exporting region. Overall, in 2020, the top six regions accounted for 76.8 percent of the total value of Spanish exports of wine and other wine products, which reached 2,956 million euros.

It is important to bear in mind that in the last 20 years two business giants, headed by Félix Solís from La Mancha and José García Carrión from Murcia, have shaken up the Spanish wine industry by leading a true revolution that has led them first to consolidate their overwhelming dominance in their fiefdoms of origin (Valdepeñas and Murcia, respectively) and then to extend their modern production structures throughout the country. In this time, Solís and Carrión, who in the last two years have moved their commercial dispute to the courts, have become the 'new lords of wine', established in two family-run winemaking empires that are among the 10 largest winemaking groups in the world.

Thanks to this redesign of the Spanish wine map, as well as to the exponential growth of the cooperatives in Ciudad Real and Albacete, which have become world leaders in their field, Castilla-La Mancha managed to account for 25.7% of Spanish wine exports in percentage terms by 2020, 7% of Spanish wine exports (more than one in four euros), well ahead of Catalonia (17.8%), La Rioja (11.2%), Valencia (8.8%), the Basque Country (7%)... and Murcia (6.3%), which joined this privileged group of major wine-producing regions in its own right.

After Murcia come Castilla and Leon (5.7%), which, like the Basque Country, climbed one place, and Andalusia (3.4%), which has been suffering an unprecedented slump for several decades. Then come Aragon (3.2%), Navarre (3.1%), Extremadura (3.08%), Madrid (1.77%), Galicia (1.57%), the Balearic Islands (0.02%), the Canary Islands (0.008%), Asturias (0.006%) and Cantabria (0.002%), as well as the section called 'Others' (0.06%).


Evolution in terms of volume

Regarding Castilla-La Mancha's leadership in terms of volume, the passage of time has only reinforced its privileged position. In fact, while in 2000 it accounted for 33.6 percent of the national wine volume exported, in 2020 it reached 52.8 percent, rising from 380 million to 1.4 billion litres, more than half of the 2,646 million litres exported by the whole of Spain. Second place on the podium went to the Comunidad Valenciana, which in 2000 exported 183 million litres and two decades later sold 315 million litres. Catalonia, meanwhile, has gone from 149 to 201 million litres, maintaining third place, although under threat from Extremadura, which has grown from 101 million litres in 2000 to 185 million litres last year. Fifth place goes to Murcia, which has experienced a dizzying rise (from 51 to 169 million litres), while the sixth to ninth places are reserved for La Rioja (from 47 to 114 million), the Basque Country (from 22 to 50 million), Navarre (from 28 to 46 million) and Aragon (from 28 to 46 million). This is followed by Andalusia, which drops from fifth to tenth place in the ranking, from 75 million litres to just 45 million litres 20 years later. The following exporting regions are Castilla y León (from 11 to 30 million), Madrid (from 14 to 27 million), Galicia (from 29 to 16 million), which represents a drop of 45% in percentage terms, as well as Asturias (from 0.2 to 1.2 million), Baleares (from 1.3 to 0.8 million), Canarias (from 6.1 to 0.3 million), Cantabria (from 0.02 to 0.004 million) and the group 'Others' (from 0.4 to 3.4 million).

To sum up, the data published in the report "Wine exports by autonomous communities and provinces 2000-2020" by the Spanish Wine Market Observatory reflect the new distribution of power in the chapter of Spanish wine exports and the metamorphosis that has taken place in the last two decades. The result confirms Castilla-La Mancha's outstanding leadership in terms of both volume and value, at an increasingly greater distance from the rest of the competitors.




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