Australia's wine exports have passed the A$2.50 billion (US$1.75 billion) annual barrier for the first time.

New figures from the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation show an annual figure for the year to May 31, 2004 of A$2.53 billion (US$1.77 billion) despite a 7% decline in the average dollar per litre return to Australian producers.

The US continues to be Australia's strongest growth market with the volume of exports growing by 25% over the previous year to reach 170 million litres. Exports to Canada grew by 35% to 32m litres.