Overseas sales of Australian wines topped 800 million litres in calendar 2017, amid a healthy 15 per cent increase in export earnings.
Sales hit a 14-year high of $2.56 billion for the year, according to Wine Australia’s Export Report, which is driven in large part by a massive 63 per cent increase in exports to China to reach $848 million.
China is now the top destination for Australian drops, accounting for a third of all exports by value, while Hong Kong accounts for a further 5 per cent.
By contrast, the more established market of Europe has seen the value of exports edge up just 1 per cent to $576 million.
Red wines dominate the list of most popular exports, accounting for four of the top five grape varieties. Shiraz is the clear favourite, accounting for $601 million in exports, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon at $341 million. Blends of the two have the highest growth, soaring by 57 per cent to $187 million. Merlot has brought in another $114 million.
Chardonnay is the fourth most popular wine, with exports of $182 million.
“Australians have long known that Australian wine is second to none. It’s wonderful to see our wine industry reinvigorate its exporting efforts to make sure the world knows it too,” said Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston.
“As Australian wine exports continue to grow, the Australian government is … supporting sellers with the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.
“This package supports a three-year plan to attract 40,000 more international tourists to Australia’s wine regions, injecting an additional $170 million into the national economy, and increase the value of exports to up to $3.5 billion.”
The growth in wine exports has not been without its challenges, however, with claims of cheap knock-off wines denting confidence in markets such as China.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.