WELLINGTON: The export value of wine has reached a record annual high, surpassing $1.6 billion. Wine is now the country’s fifth largest goods export. The annual report of the industry body New Zealand Winegrowers says exports were up by 6 percent in the year to the end of June. It says exports to the United States led the way, up by 12 percent and passing $500 million for the first time. New Zealand wine has become the third most valuable wine import into the US, behind only France and Italy.
New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green said the strong growth was being driven by sauvignon blanc sales. Mr Green said over the past two decades the wine industry has achieved average annual export growth of 17 percent a year. “Our premium reputation remains the greatest collective asset for New Zealand wine, and underlies the high average price our wine commands in global trade.” And the outlook was for this to continue, Mr Green said. “With diversified markets and a strong upward trajectory, the industry is in good shape to achieve $2bn of exports by 2020.”