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AUSSIE WINE SURGES ON THE BACK OF CHINESE MARKETS

04-08-2016
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The Australian wine industry is surging on the back of Chinese exports as the Chinese market is seeking quality wine.

Australian wine exports have grown to $2.1 billion per year, and the average price paid for wine grapes has grown by 14 per cent to $526 per tonne — the highest level since 2009.

Mr James Halliday, a wine critic has attributed much of this to a growing middle class in China, that is prepared to pay for top shelf wines.

"It's all being pulled by enormous demand from China," he told ABC News Breakfast.

The United States is also a key export market for Australian wines, accounting for more than $440 million in exports in the last year, but Mr Halliday said we weren't seeing the same level of growth.

"In the 12 months to June 30, Australian wine exports to China increased in value by 50 per cent [to $419 million]. Over the same period of time the US increased by 9 per cent," he said.

The strong domestic wine sector in the US made it harder to become a fixture in the market — something that wasn't yet an issue in China, he said.

"China is starting to make some good-quality wine right up north, with a lot of Australian and French input ... but it is still, and is likely to be, a slow-growing industry," he said.

"France has 40 per cent of the market coming in [to China]. Australia is in second place with 20 per cent of all of the wine coming in."

The demand saw a 6 per cent jump in the tonnes of grapes that were crushed for wine in Australia last year, taking the total to more than 1.8 million tonnes.

"There was a period of time where we were worried about wine ending up in warehouses in the middle of nowhere, pooling, and there was going to be lots and lots of tears shed," Mr Halliday said.

Wine Grape Growers Australia executive director Andrew Weeks said the work was not over yet.

"There is still much work to do, but with recent improvements in key markets and firming in wine grape prices across the nation, there is reason for cautious optimism," he said.

"It is vital that this positive trend continues and that all in the wine sector are focused on continuing to build demand in key markets."

 

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