Spain is the world’s largest exporter of wine, beating Italy and France easily year on year, but it suffers from poor marketing, resulting in lower takings than Europe’s other top two, figures reveal.

Just last year alone, Spain sold almost 2.4 billion litres – which amounts to almost 3.2 billion bottles, based upon the standard 75cc size – abroad, a long way ahead of its rival and second-largest exporter Italy, with 2 billion litres or just under 2.7 billion bottles. And Spain far outstrips France, the third-most prolific wine exporting nation on the planet, with sales figures for 2015 of 1.5 billion litres or 2 billion bottles.

Whilst Italy earned 5 billion from its wine sales last year and France an impressive 8 billion, Spain’s turnover was dramatically lower. International buyers paid just €1.10 a litre – even though the retail mark-up means wholesalers make a hefty profit – even less than the cheapest brand on sale in the high street supermarkets.

This represents a fall of 2.9% on 2014’s sale prices, according to the National Wine Market Observatory’s boss Rafael de Rey. According to Senor de Rey the way forward is to highlight the denomination of origin (D.O), and the grape variety used, on Spanish wine bottles when selling overseas.

Italy does this and amasses considerably more money for a much lower quantity, whilst few consumers abroad could name any Spanish wine brand other than Rioja.

The Major difference between the biggest global exporter and the more financially-successful runner – up effectively is pre marketing – which is where Spain fails, Rafael del Rey believes.

France, with its fierce national pride in its own wines, surprisingly, the largest international buyer of wine from Spain. Last year, French national wholesalers purchased 650million litres or 867 million bottles.

It is mainly retailed as unbranded ‘table wine’ labelled as ‘produced in the European Union’ – or very rarely, ‘produced in Spain’, with no reference to its D.O.

This means that the wine served as cheap plonk, most French consumers would not touch with a bargepole normally, is very likely to be a superior Ribera del Duero, Ribeiro, Valdepenas, Rueda, La Mancha, Montsant, Priorato, Utiel-Requena or Rias Baixas, among many other brands which are highly- valued at home and can fetch high prices in restaurants and bars.

Germany and Italy are Spain’s 2 nd and 3 rd largest export markets at 420 million litres (560 million bottles) and 270 million litres (360 million bottles) per year.

In the UK Spanish wine is a rare sight, with Rioja being one of the only brands seen and even then, in limited quantity, and occasionally the Valencia produced Castillo de Lliria, one of the cheapest varieties found on supermarket shelves and off-licences at around £5 a bottle.