Wine to Poland

Trends and opportunities

The market

Poland’s growing wine market offers long-term opportunities for Australian exporters. Poland has a large adult population of 31.5 million and it is expected that wine consumption will continue to grow among current and new consumers.

Current annual wine consumption is estimated to be 4 litres per capita. This is relatively low and offers considerable upward growth potential with Polish consumption being behind Western European wine consuming standards that averages over 40 litres of still grape wine per annum.

According to Wine Intelligence Compass 2015-16, Poland is the 19 th (Australia 8th) most attractive wine market in the world and has potential for growth. Total wine consumption in Poland is half the size of the Swedish wine market, but larger than Norway, Ireland and Finland.

Wine production in Poland remains limited with 153 wineries legally registered in 2016 and 221.943 hectares of land under vine. Domestic production represents less than 1% of total wine sales.

Opportunities

With a large adult population of over 31.5 million people and increasing wealth, Polish consumers are discovering wine. Wine consumption in Poland is forecast to grow at 5% per annum.

Ninety percent of wine is imported. Wine imports to Poland reached over EUR 234 million in 2016. Australian imports account for around 2% of total imports. It’s important to note that this value is most likely understated due to wine shipments passing through customs in neighbouring EU countries.

There are over 800 companies with a wine import licence.

The wine market is not yet saturated and there is still space for exporters to enter and help grow the market.

There are significant opportunities for Australian exporters with wines already available in European warehouses.

Competitive Environment

Wine consumers in Poland have considerable choice with brands from every wine producing country available on the market. In addition to bottled Australian wine, consumers can buy bulk wine bottled locally or in Europe. The number of Australian wines represented on the market has grown significantly over the last decade.

Imports from Italy, US, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Chile were the highest in 2016. As much as European wines are in demand due to proximity and a growing number of Polish tourists to those countries, in case of US, Chile and other countries their sales are high due to intensive promotional activities run in Poland by those countries or wine regions.

Tariffs, regulations and customs

It is important to comply with legal requirements as not providing the required documentation could result in the shipment being held at the border and financial penalties. Please verify with the importer or with Austrade if you have any concerns.

Since joining the European Union (EU) in 2004 the applicable duty tariffs for Poland are the same as in other EU countries and can be found on TARIC .

Besides duty tariffs there are two main taxes applicable to wine in Poland: Value Added Tax (VAT) like GST in Australia and excise tax.

VAT in Poland on wine is 23%.

The excise duty is an indirect tax charged on some product types including alcoholic beverages. In the case of wine the assessment base is the number of hectolitres (hL). The rate is PLN 158 per hL.

Ministerial regulation is being drafted to remove excise tax banderols requirement and hopefully will take effect in early 2018. Before this occurs this requirement is still in place and excise tax banderols need to be attached to each bottle prior to arrival in Poland unless they are being delivered to a bonded warehouse. The winery is responsible for attaching the banderols on the bottles if there is no other arrangement in place with the importer.

A banderol is a stamp proving that the taxes have been paid and the company has the right to sell it in Poland. The banderol is different for each type of alcoholic beverage category. Beer is the only alcoholic beverage that does not require a banderol.

Wine is also subject to sanitary border controls. The body responsible for the import of such goods is obliged to notify the proper border sanitary inspector no later than 48 hours before the planned imports.

The State Sanitary Inspection, The State Agricultural and Food Inspection Authority, have to the right to request samples of imported wines.

Marketing your products and services

Market Entry

When considering Poland, Australian wine exporters seeking long-term success need to consider a number of factors, such as: the offer itself, commitment, distribution and compliance with import/export regulations.

A willingness to visit the market to participate in wine tastings is desired and highly appreciated. Participating in annual tastings such as the annual tasting organised by Wine Australia, Austrade or those organised by importers provide an invaluable opportunity to present your wines to importers, promote your wines if you are already present in the Polish market, obtain feedback from local wine professionals and consumers and gain new customers.

Experience shows that exporters committed to the market and provide more support to their importers leads to higher sales. There are various methods of supporting importers depending on the importer's distribution strategy. Popular activities include:

  • Dinners and tastings with visiting winemakers or winery representatives
  • Supporting brand recognition by participating in Australian tastings
  • Hosting visiting wine writers
  • Participating in important international and national industry events
  • Industry masterclasses
  • Organising tastings for influencers.

The marketing budget or equivalent in samples is expected by importers to be around 5% to 10% of the order value.

Importers look for wine exporters who want to establish a long-term presence in the market and are not only looking to make a quick sale. They are keen to build sales and brand awareness in partnership with the brand owner.

Distribution channels

An importer’s distribution channel will determine which wines in terms of price point and volume will be sold. In addition to the import licence, a distributor requires a wholesale trade and/or retail sale licence.

It is important to ensure that the potential importer holds an import licence when starting initial discussions and before sending wine samples.

Sales volume objectives, together with the positioning of your product, will be key factors when considering suitable distribution channels. Some major retail chains source wine directly from overseas or domestic wine suppliers to increase efficiency in distribution. In recent years, retailers with a large number of stores are starting to import wine directly to reduce distribution costs, but will only sell these wines in their stores.

Common distribution structures are:

  • Importers to wholesalers to retailers or the HoReCa industry
  • Importers owning their wine speciality shops and/or wine bars
  • Major national wholesalers (supermarkets and discounters) importing directly

Transport

Wine can be shipped directly to a Polish port or to one of the main European ports in Germany or Holland and then transported inland via road transport.

At the beginning of discussions samples are usually required. The common practice is to send samples by courier. If required Austrade can assist with customs clearance.

Links and industry contacts

Polish Sommeliers Association

Polish Association of Wine Importers and Distributors

Agricultural Market Agency (ARR)

Polish Customs Office

Polish Ministry of Finance

State / Chief Sanitary Inspectorate

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.

Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.