Demand for Sherry is growing; UK second large consumer

by Lorraine Williamson

Last year, sales of Sherry, also known as Vino de Denominación de Orígen JerezXérès – Sherry, recorded their best result in four years. Exports nearly doubled domestic consumption, and German interest in these wines even increased by 30%.  

Exports remain important for sherry wines. In 2021, 20.9 million litres were sold abroad, an 11% increase in 2020 and the best sales figure in the last four years. Sales of wines of the Jerez and Manzanilla designations of origin increased by 13% in 2021 compared to 2020. Then 31.8 million litres were produced, 1.2 million more than in 2019.  

And although exports increased, domestic consumption grew even faster. In total, almost 11 million litres were sold in Spain, 17.4% more than the previous year. In the first year of the pandemic, 9.3 million litres were still sold, despite the closure of the catering sector. Especially the last part of the year showed a positive trend with an increase in sales, despite the fact that many fiestas were suspended in 2021. Also, the ‘feria’, where traditionally a lot of Sherry is drunk. 

UK biggest importer 

The UK was again the largest importer of Sherry wines in 2021, with almost 10 million litres. This represents an increase of 3% compared to the previous year. This puts the UK in second place and almost surpasses Spain when it comes to the biggest consumer of these wines.  

The British love Cream Sherry 

Cream Sherry – cabeceo, as it is known in the Jerez region – is a blend made from both dry, oxidatively aged wines – usually oloroso – that are often sweetened with the famous Pedro Ximénez grape (PX). This sweet variety is a favourite among the British and was largely responsible for the growth in Sherry wine sales last year.  

Cogesa Expats

The Netherlands on number three 

Other European countries also imported 8.7 million litres of Sherry. The Netherlands leads the list of other countries, with 3.6 million litres and an increase of 4.5% in 2020. Germany follows with 2 million litres, an increase of 30% compared to 2020. But there was also an upturn in the United States. With a consumption of 1.2 million litres, there was an increase of 10%. The Asian markets, with a growth of only 7.4%, had a lesser, but still significant influence.  

Promotion pays off 

‘The markets have responded exceptionally well during 2021 to the promotional efforts made throughout the year by the wineries and by the Supervisory Board itself, with the support of the European Commission through the Origen Jerez promotional programme,’ said Chairman of the Supervisory Board for Sherry. He is convinced that the positive trend in sales will continue in 2022, thanks mainly to the return of fairs and feria and international tourism.  

Which Sherry types sell best?  

Cream Sherry remains the best-selling variety, with sales of 8.3 million litres last year, up 18.6% from the previous year. The drier variant Fino closed with a consumption of 6.3 million litres (+9.6%). And of the driest and refreshing variant, Manzanilla 6 million litres were sold (+12%). 

Related post: Sherry from Jerez


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