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Australian wine exports grew in volume and value last year as demand in China overcame pressure from a strong domestic dollar, latest figures show. 

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Volumes climbed by 3% to 721m litres while the average value per litre increased by 3% for bottled wine and 2% for bulk in the 12 months to the end of December, according to the Wine Export Approvals Report, released by trade body Wine Australia yesterday (14 January). Overall export volumes were higher than in South Africa, which announced a record 417m litres yesterday.

Andrew Cheesman, Wine Australia's chief executive, said that although the strong currency had affected sales, the future looked good. “Australian wine exports delivered a solid performance in some of our key markets last year and, as global supply is tightening, we believe there are signals for cautious optimism,” he said.

Bottled exports to China increased by 15%, while above-AUD10 (US$10.55) sales grew by 40%, Cheesman said. The average value of Australian bottled wine exports to China is now above that of France, he added.

But Cheesman warned that Australian wineries need to focus on ties with more mature markets such as the UK and US to build stronger demand at more sustainable price points. 

To raise the profile of the country's wine regions, Wine Australia is planning a global wine forum for September.


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