New Zealand wine exports hit $1.5 billion as US becomes largest market
Wine exports have hit a record high - now worth more than $1.5 billion to New Zealand's economy.
The latest figures from New Zealand Winegrowers show Kiwi wine exports reached $1.54b last year - up 14 per cent on 2014.
New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said wine was now the country's sixth largest export.
"The new record level of wine exports is an outstanding achievement for New Zealand wine exporters and testifies to the strong global demand for our wines."
Last year, there was "particularly strong growth" into the US markets, with export value up 26 per cent to $430 million.
In August, the United States became New Zealand's most valuable wine export market, surpassing Australia.
Another markets which performed well last year were Canada, up 18 per cent to $100m and the UK - up 12 per cent to $380m.
"The lower New Zealand currency has assisted the increased returns, but underlying the growth is the very positive reputation of New Zealand wine amongst consumers and the wine trade globally," Gregan said.
In 2010, New Zealand wine exports reached $1b in 2010 and the industry had a goal of $2b of annual wine exports by 2020, he said.
"Achieving the $1.5 billion record means the industry is well on track to achieving exports of $2b."
The announcement of the new export record comes at a very busy time for the wine sector.
Next week New Zealand Winegrowers will host over 300 wine producers, writers and experts from 18 countries in Marlborough, for the first ever International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration.
Later in the week around 80 wine influencers will then journey on to Gisborne to take part in New Zealand's first Sparkling and Chardonnay Symposium.