Australian wine makers have recorded their highest growth in export sales values in 18 years and a record-breaking 811 million litres of volume shipped overseas for the 12-month period.
The 15 per cent increase in the value of wine exports to $2.56 billion for the year to December 31 complemented an 8pc high for volumes sent offshore in a calendar-year.
A big surge in sales to North East Asia was alone responsible for about $400m in extra export values, with premium quality wine labels in demand.
Bottled exports jumped 17pc to $2.1b, while the average price per litre for bottled wine grew by 3pc to a record $5.63/litre’.
Again exports to North East Asia have been star performers, lifting 47pc to more than $1b for the first time.
Australian wine exports to mainland China in particular have experienced outstanding growth in the past decade with the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement in 2015 provided impetus to an already strong market.
Wine Australia chief executive officer, Andreas Clark, said export figures for 2017 suggested the industry was well-placed for this trend to continue.
Sales to China grew in value by 63pc to $848m and in volume by 54pc to 153m litres, with growth in exports to mainland China across all price points.
The average price lifted 6pc to $5.55/ litre, freight on board (FOB).
Mainland China remained Australia’s top markets by value in 2017 with 33pc total export sales ahead of the US (18pc), the UK (14pc), Canada (7pc), and Hong Kong (5pc).
Exports also grew to Europe by 1pc to $576m, South East Asia by 2pc to $165m, and 8pc to $94m in the Oceania region.
Mr Clark, said overall the wine sector achieved a 7pc rise in average value per litre FOB to $3.16 - the highest pricing level since 2009.
Wine exported in bulk also experienced price increases, with total value increasing by 10pc to $440m.
The average value of bulk wine per litre also lifted about the same extent to $1.03/l - its best average value since 2012.
He said it was notable wine priced above $10/l grew by 29pc to a record $738m.
On the downside, exports to North America dipped 2pc to $636m, althought sales to the US valued at more than $10/l (or $US14/bottle in retail outlets) grew 8pc to $45m.
Growth in premium wine exports to the USA was also evident in retail figures.
Australia’s top five markets by volume in 2017 were the UK (28pc), US (21pc), mainland China mainland (19pc), Canada (8pc), and Germany (5pc).
Wine Australia noted a whopping 80pc of exports to the UK and Germany were shipped in bulk containers.