Aust wine exports to China pass $1bn

 

Lower tariffs have helped boost the value of Australian wine exports to China in the year to March 2018 to above $1 billion - the first time that exports to a single country have hit that level.

Wine Australia says the value of Australian wine exports to China, which includes Hong Kong and Macau, lifted by 51 per cent to reach $1.04 billion.

The industry umbrella group says exports to China grew as wine tariffs dropped again in January 2018, in line with the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The tariff will be removed completely in January 2019, giving Australian wine producers an advantage over French, Italian and Spanish suppliers.

"Pleasingly there was very strong growth (in China) at all price points as imported wine becomes more approachable and is increasingly consumed by middle-class drinkers and seen as suitable for consumption at informal gatherings and while relaxing at home," Wine Australia chief executive Andreas Clark said in a statement on Monday.

The latest data from Wine Australia shows that total exports for the 12 months grew by 16 per cent to $2.65 billion, which is the highest value in 10 years.

The second biggest market by value after China was the US, where the value of Australian exports fell by seven per cent to $439 million.

The UK, Canada and New Zealand followed thereafter.

The value of both bottled exports and bulk wine increased.

Total wine volumes grew by 10 per cent to 844 million litres.

Mr Clark said the high quality of Australian wine, and historically low harvests in the northern hemisphere were driving the demand for Australian wine exported in bulk containers.

The UK is Australia's largest export destination by volume, and China has overtaken the US for second place.