29 Jan 2016

Wine industry celebrates lucrative vintage

10:36 am on 29 January 2016

Wine growers are celebrating record returns for their exports in 2015.

The industry's exports earned $1.5 billion last year, up 14 percent on 2014.

no caption

New Zealand wines are hitting the "sweet spot" in export markets. Photo: Wikicommons / Jorge Royan

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said strong demand, particularly in North American markets, combined with a lower New Zealand dollar to give the industry its best year yet.

Mr Gregan said export returns were up 26 percent in the United States to $430 million and up 18 percent in Canada to $100m.

"I think at the moment it would be fair to say that New Zealand wine is a fairly hot prospect in the North American market.

"We've seen very strong growth into both Canada and the United States over the past year and I think our wines are certainly hitting the sweet spot with consumers."

Mr Gregan said smaller markets were doing well too.

"Outside our big four markets which are Australia, United States, Canada and the UK we've seen our exports to those other markets exceed $250 million for the first time this year," Mr Gregan said.

"And the are a range of markets in Asia and Europe primarily and we're seeing really good, strong broad-based growth in virtually all of those markets."

Mr Gregan said the wine industry is on track to hit $2b in wine exports by 2020.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs