Wine industry surges to record $2.3b in exports

Wine has grown to become New Zealand's fifth largest export. Photo: Getty Images
Wine has grown to become New Zealand's fifth largest export. Photo: Getty Images
Wine exports have surged to a record level with volumes up 20%, despite the extreme weather growers have faced in the past year.

New Zealand Winegrowers said the total value of wine exports for the year ended May was a record $2.3 billion, on the back of strong international demand.

Chief executive Philip Gregan said wine was now New Zealand's fifth largest export and a record harvest drove the industry's latest success.

"We had a record harvest last year, which has increased the supply of wine," he said.

"Wineries have been able to capitalise on that and consumers have bought all of that wine and more and at the end of the day, consumers overseas love our wine and are buying more and more of it."

Gregan said demand for New Zealand wine had increased in all key markets but particularly in the US, where exports now fetched more than $800 million a year.

Sauvignon blanc was still the top choice from international customers, but other wine varieties were holding their own, he said.

Owing to a smaller harvest this year, he expected tighter supply of wine over the next 12 months, but said the industry was on track to continue its growth.

"What we're going to see over the next 12 months is a slightly tighter supply situation and I think that's probably good for the industry," he said.

"I think we'll still see some growth in value over the next 12 months. It's not going to be the same level as in the past year, but we're looking forward to another positive year for our export story."

Gregan said New Zealand's wine industry had been growing year-on-year and the industry was proud of its achievements.