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Monday, 6 May, 2002, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
Australian wine exports surge
Bottles of wine
Australian wine: Finding favour with US drinkers
Australian wine exports soared in March, buoyed by strong sales in North America and Europe, according to official figures.

Total wine exports rose 33.3% in March from February to 182m Australian dollars (67m; $98m), the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

The rise was fuelled by an increase of over 50% in exports to Canada and the US.

The North Americans imported almost 11 million litres of Australian wine in March, up from about 7 million litres in February.

European drinkers

Sales to Europe rose sharply too, climbing to 22.4 million litres from 16.9 million in February.

During 2001, Australia exported a total of 338.3 million litres of wine, generating A$1.75bn in foreign earnings.

Wine is one of Australia's fastest-growing export products.

Australian wine producers say their main markets are the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, Ireland and Sweden.

Domestic demand weak

Australian wine makers saw their home sales fall in March, with domestic consumption slipping 4.9% to 32.4 million litres.

However, the decline did not reflect increased consumption of foreign wines.

Australian wine imports rose by 1% on the month in March, but fell by 5.5% compared to the same period one year earlier.

Dr Willem Barnard, chief executive KWV
"We always accepted that Brussels would be negotiating on behalf of European producers"
See also:

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