New Zealand wine exports hit record levels

Wellington - New Zealand wine exports reached record levels in the 12 months to March amid surging demand from key markets, an industry body said Wednesday.

Official data showed exports were up 9.2% to NZ$1.32bn ($1.13bn), making wine the country's eighth most valuable goods export, New Zealand Winegrowers said.

"The very robust export performance over the past 12 months reflects the continued demand in key markets and increased availability of the wine from the 2013 vintage," chief executive Philip Gregan said.

"We expect further strong growth in the year ahead when the 2014 vintage wines are released."

Australia and Britain remain New Zealand's largest wine exports markets, although the United States, Canada, Germany and Hong Kong all posted double-digit growth in 2013.

About 85 percent of New Zealand's wine exports are white sauvignon blancs, predominantly from the South Island's Marlborough region.

Growers produced a record grape harvest of 345 000 tonnes in 2013.

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