Wine Distributor and Importer Guide: Germany

Wine Distributor and Importer Guide: Germany (Updated 2024)

General information about Germany

With a population of over 84 million, Germany is the largest single economy in the EU, making it the third-largest economy in the world (GDP nominal, 2023). No surprise then that it is the leading European market for food and drink. Germany has a population of 84.4 million (2023) and its largest cities by population size are Berlin (3.75m), Hamburg (1.89m), München (1.51m), Köln (1.08m) and Frankfurt am Main (0.77m). Germany plays an extremely important role in world trade and the country ranks third in terms of import volume, and third in the world in terms of export volume (2021).

Importing wine to Germany

According to the Trade Data Monitor Database, Germany’s wine market ranks third in the world in value, trailing only Britain and the USA and it ranks fourth in the world in volume. It is the world’s biggest importer of wine by volume. The value of the wine market in the current year has topped US$15bn. German imports fell by more than 6% from 2021 to 2022. It should also be noted that 63% of wine imports were bought in bulk.1

In 2022, wine importers imported 13.39 million hl of wine into the country (-6.9% compared to 2021), which in monetary terms amounted to €2.7bn (-2% compared to last year). At the same time, the average price per litre of imported wine in 2022 was €2.02.2

The main countries of origin of imported wine to Germany in 2021 by value were:

  1. Italy (€1.021bn)
  2. France (€822m)
  3. Spain (€348m)
  4. USA (€93m)
  5. Austria (€81m)

In terms of the volume of imported wine, the picture is somewhat different:

  1. Italy (4.86m hl)
  2. Spain (3.68m hl)
  3. France (1.78m hl)
  4. South Africa (0.65m hl)
  5. USA (0.4m hl)

Wine distribution in Germany

The main distribution channel for wine in Germany remains discount market chains who hold a market share of 38% (such as Aldi and Lidl), while 28% of wines are sold through supermarkets (such as Kaufland and Marktkauf). If we combine both of these retail groups into a single category of supermarkets, then their total share accounts for 66% (2022). 13% of all wines sold in Germany are purchased directly from wineries (9% from winery premises, and 4% online). 10% of wines in 2022 were sold through specialty beverage stores. In total, the online sales channel accounted for 11% of wines sold through various channels. Major online distributors are Hawesko, Belvini, Vicampo, WirWinzer and Lobenbergs Gute Weine, Jacques Wein Depot, Rewe, and Weinfreunde.3

According to The German Wine Institute, there are more than 600 wine importers and distributors in Germany, and in our Vinaty wine importer database there are more than 1,100 companies involved in wine sales. This includes wine importers and wine retailers. We can safely say that the German wine market is very saturated and competitive.

Wine retailers and distributors make up a little less than half of total market volume in the lowest price bracket of between €3 and €6, with only 10% of the wine market willing to stretch beyond €15 per bottle. Cheaper wines, therefore, might find favour on a crowded market. In 2023, according to Statista, the average volume per individual on the German market is expected to rise to 20.67 litres.

Providing an accurate forecast for the German market is a difficult business. Conflicting figures abound, with many replicating a worldwide tendency of less drinking among young people, and an overall decrease in the value of wine imports. The German Wine Institute (DWI), however, reports that the 2021 sales in wine retailers grew by 6%, while revenue grew revenue by 8%. Despite discrepancies between figures, it is unlikely that these fluctuations will change the fundamental truth of the German wine market: it is big, it is relatively steady, and it is ready for foreign wineries.

In 2022, the average retail price of German wines rose to €4.18 or $4.47 per litre. This is a more than 6% increase on last year’s prices. Contrast this with imported wines, whose price increase is more modest: an increase of only 7 cents in 2022, making €3.64 per litre, according to Deutsche Welle.

Germany - Wine importers and distributors. German wine market overview

Wine consumer preferences in Germany

In Germany in 2022, beer is without doubt the market leader for alcoholic beverages with a share of 36% by value. However, a year earlier this figure was 34.8%. This is followed by wine with 30.7% of the market (21.8% for still wines and 8.9% for sparkling wines). Spirits occupy a share of 29%.

The tendency to purchase red over white wine, common across Europe, is somewhat less pronounced in Germany: 46% of retail was red, 44% white, 10% rosé.

Makers of organic wine might find their niche in Germany, with the lack of pesticides and herbicides constituting a major draw for German consumers. Sustainability ranks highly on the list of German market considerations, with domestic produce bolstered as a result. According to the German Wine Institute, domestic wine made up 45 percent of household purchases by volume.

Wine manufacturing in Germany

Germany is the fourth largest wine producer in the EU. Wine production topped 9 million hectolitres according to the USDA. It can also be noted that Germany ranks seventh in the world in terms of wine exports (by volume) with an indicator of 3.5 million hectolitres (2022).4

The total area of vineyards in Germany is 103,171 ha (2021). 68% of the vineyards are planted with white wine variety grapes. The top five white wine varieties grown in Germany are: Riesling, Mueller-Thurgau, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, and Silvaner. These five varieties account for 77% of the area of all white grape vineyards.

The share of red grape varieties accounts for 32%. The main varieties are Pinot Noir, Dornfelder, Portugieser, Trollinger, and Black Riesling. These varieties account for 76% of the red wine area.5


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