Overseas drinkers quaff New Zealand wines
Overseas consumers' taste for New Zealand wine has lifted exports to just under $1.6 billion for the last year, up 10 per cent on the year before.
The United States market jumped by 23 per cent, from $372 million in 2015 to $460m to the end of June 2016.
Other leading export destinations include the United Kingdom ($381m), Australia ($361m), Canada ($107m), and the Netherlands ($44m).
China, which has grown from practically nothing 10 years ago, is now worth $27.5m, although it slipped in value slightly from the year before. Hong Kong, regarded as a separate market, recorded $17m in exports.
New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green said this year marked the 21st in a row that wine exports had grown, and the industry was on target to reach its goal of $2b by 2020.
"This continued strong performance is testament to underlying market and consumer demand for our wines in key markets," Green said.
Export volumes are expected to rise by a further 10 per cent over the next 12 months, following the 2016 grape harvest of 436,000 tonnes, 34 per cent higher than last year.
By volume of variety, sauvignon blanc is by far the leader at 303,000 tonnes, followed by pinot noir (35,000 tonnes), chardonnay (29,000 tonnes), pinot gris (25,000 tonnes), and merlot (9000 tonnes).
The total vineyard area is 36,000 hectares, predicted to grow to about 40,000 ha over the next four years. Wine is now New Zealand's sixth largest export good by value.