Despite fears of over-production and alarm about the impact of the September 11 attacks, Australian winemakers continue to enjoy buoyant export earnings.

But there are other shadows behind the apparent euphoria. Because of the lag between orders received and wine exported the newly published November statistics, do not reflect the September impact on the markets, which dominate Australian overseas sales.

Year on year records to the end of November 2001 show exports growing by 20% to reach 368m litres and 19% in value to $A1.74 billion ($US538m). But the markets most vulnerable to the September factor are those on which Australia has become reliant. The UK, US and Canada take 75% of bottled red and 80% of bottled white wines.

The Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation said in a commentary accompanying the new statistics that the UK and US were the principal growth drivers. Germany was an emerging market but remained small in overall terms.

Another perhaps ominous statistic revealed in an analysis of the November figures was that the dollar per litre value of exported wine fell by almost 1% for the second successive month.