New Zealand winegrowers achieved total sales 96m litres in the year to June 2005, the New Zealand Wine Growers annual report confirmed today, with export sales accounting for 53% - exceeding domestic sales for the first time. The report added that New Zealand's 500th winery was registered in May this year.
 
New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive, Philip Gregan, said the record 2004 vintage of 167,000 tonnes helped New Zealand wine exporters to open new markets, trial new products and increase sales in existing markets.
 
"The industry is in a solid position for future growth and can take confidence from the achievements in the 12 months to June 2005, with record sales, new markets and more wineries. Export sales are now well over 50m litres per year and we look set for further growth following the 2005 vintage of 142,000 tonnes, the second largest harvest ever.
 
"These achievements were not without challenges as we faced a strong New Zealand dollar, rising costs and increased taxes, all of which are placing pressure on our profitability," he said.
 
Going forward, Gregan says the New Zealand wine industry is on track for rapid growth with projected sales in excess of NZ$1.5 billion by 2010.
 
"The industry must be profitable to enable investment in the future so we can build new wineries, plant new vineyards and invest in our people," he said.

The value of exports was NZ$435m for the year-end June 2005, up 44% on NZ$303m for the year-end June 2004.