A leading figure in the Australian wine industry believes the sector can be the country's largest exporter of agricultural goods by 2010, and double exports in five years.

These goals were set out by Ian Sutton, chief executive of the Winemakers Federation, in an interview yesterday.

Last year the value of Australian wine exports grew 15% to A$2.42 billion. It is placed in the top 13 of the country's export products.

In an interview with the Dow Jones newswires, Sutton said that the export growth will occur despite little or no growth in the amount of wine expected to be crushed in the 2004 vintage.

"All the fundamentals are in place," he said. "If the dollar remains competitive and the world economy heads in the direction it's currently heading, we don't see any reason why major markets, particularly the United States, won't continue to grow at the rates they are now."

He said the Australian wine industry could both double its exports in five years and had the capacity to be the largest agricultural exporter by 2010.