A strong Australian dollar has made Foster's Group half-year wine figures look worse than they are.

Make no mistake, the Australian firm's wine division remains in a pickle. Cash-strapped consumers are buying cheaper wine in the Americas, while tax, recession and retailer margins have made it pretty tough to earn a crust in the UK.

Closer to home, Australians are drinking more foreign wine, neighbouring New Zealand has its own economic problems and emerging markets in Asia (read: China) are not yet supping enough to make up the shortfall.

At the same time, Foster's Group is attempting to sell off "non-core" vineyards in an Australian market already awash with wine that nobody wants to buy.

That said, hefty declines in Foster's wine sales over the last six months have been made much worse by the strength of the Australian dollar currency.

One Australian wine industry official told just-drinks recently that the dollar's rise, although sudden, has caused many wineries to rethink marketing plans for 2010 - for fear of further financial instability.