New Zealand wine exports continued to grow during 2001, reaching new record levels according to New Zealand Winegrowers.

For the 2001 calendar year, wine exports totaled NZ$230.3m from shipments of 21.8m litres. This represents an increase of 17.9% in value and 8.5% in volume over calendar year 2000.

The strong export growth continues the trend of recent years, which has now seen the value of exports treble since mid-1997.

Commenting on the past year, New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer designate Philip Gregan said: "2001 has been yet another successful year for leading wine exporters, despite on-going shortages of some key varieties. Demand has remained strong in our major markets, and we appear to have weathered the increased market volatility following the September terrorist attacks. The low New Zealand currency has been of obvious assistance, but this is underpinned by growing recognition of and appreciation for New Zealand wine as high quality, high value product."

Gregan said the prospects for New Zealand wine exports remained positive. "We are hopeful that Vintage 2002 will provide significantly increased supplies of key export varietals, providing an added boost to exports in the 2002/03 year. Beyond the next year, industry forecasts suggests export will rise to NZ$736m in 2006, taking total industry sales to well over NZ$1 billion per annum."