Exports of New Zealand wine jumped 15% to 19.2m litres in 1999-2000, their value increasing by 35% to $NZ168.6m with the average price a litre reaching $NZ8.80, a 16.7% increase.

The UK remained the main market, taking10.5m litres (55%) worth $NZ84.7m, with the US share increasing 68% to 2.4m litres worth $NZ26.5m - just edging Australia whose share dropped from 14% to 13% - 2.4m litres worth $23.9m.

White wines made up 77% of exports and reds 12% with exports of sparkling leaping 41% to a 9% share of the total.

The Wine Institute of New Zealand's annual report predicts that exports will double by 2005 when they will total 50% of all sales which, in 1999-2000 were a record 59.2m litres, a 7.6% increase.

Chris Snow