New Zealand now world's top 3 wine import into USA by value
New Zealand has edged out Australia in the import value of its wine in the United States, now worth $579 million.
But it will be some time before it can compete with Italy whose wine import value to the US is worth $2.83 billion, or France ($2.3b).
"To be third ranking in terms of value in the world's largest wine market is outstanding, especially given New Zealand produces less than 1 per cent of the world's wine", said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.
Italy and France produce about 15 per cent each of the world's wines, and Australia just over 4 per cent.
The information comes in a report from the Gomberg Fredrikson & Associates, a wine analytics firm in the US, confirming recent rapid sales growth during 2016.
Gregan clarified that the import value - the cost of the wine once it arrived in the US, including shipping and insurance - differed from its value as it left New Zealand, which was $460m to June 2016.
Report author Jon Moramarco said New Zealand wine, especially sauvignon blanc, was very popular in the US and sales continued to grow at a rate much faster than the total market.
"The growth doesn't surprise me, just because of the quality and value of what New Zealand has to offer."
Australia has the advantage of a free trade agreement with the US, whereas New Zealand has to pay a tariff of 6.3c per litre.
Since the late 1990s shipments to the US have grown by 3600 per cent, and since 2015 value has increased by 11 per cent.
Gregan said New Zealand total wine exports had reached a record high and now stood at $1.61b, up 5 per cent for the year ended January 2017. Wine is exported to more than 90 countries, and is New Zealand's 7th largest export good.