The shut down of ports on the West Coast of the US is threatening supplies of Australian wine to the US market.

A ten-day shut down, caused by an industrial dispute between dock worker unioins and shipping companies has closed 29 ports from Washingotn to California. Almost half of Australia's exports to the US, which include wine and meat products, amounting normally enter the country through West Coast ports.

"If the disruptions continue, it's definitely going to have an impact on the availability of Australian wine," said David Dean, export development manager for the Australian Wine Export Council.

The US buys a quarter of Australia's wine exports, worth A$616m in the year to August. Australia is the world's fifth-biggest wine exporter. Industry insiders say at present the closures are not a big worry.

However, if the dispute was to escalate there could be significant problems. Accessing key wine markets in San Francisco and Seattle via East Coast ports would not be a viable option for most companies because of varying regulatory requirements in each state.