January 14, 2013 / 3:15 AM / 7 years ago

Chinese taste for Aussie wine grows 15 pct in 2012

MELBOURNE, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Australian bottled wine exports to China surged by 15 percent year on year in 2012, as a sales push targeting the country’s wealthy drinkers helped make China the top overseas market for its wines priced at more than A$7.50 ($7.90) a litre.

Official data from the Australian government on Monday showed total wine exports rose 3 percent by volume, and reached A$1.9 billion in value, even as the strong Australian currency made wines like Penfolds from Treasury Wine Estates more expensive.

Australian winemakers have in the past few years boosted efforts to sell to Chinese consumers who have shown a growing taste for luxury brands, as traditional markets have softened.

Andrew Cheesman, chief executive of Australian government agency Wine Australia, said Australian wine was cementing its reputation in the Chinese market, with exports there worth A$183 million last year.

“China’s demand for premium wine continues delivering strong growth across higher price segments, with the above A$10 per litre segment recording the strongest growth, up 40 per cent to 4.8 million litres,” Cheesman said.

China is the biggest destination for Australian bottled exports above A$7.50 per litre, ahead of Canada and the United States.

The data from Wine Australia showed exports to Australia’s traditional top markets, the United Kingdom and the United States, rose by 3 percent and 9 percent respectively in volume terms in 2012.

$1 = 0.9479 Australian dollars Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Daniel Magnowski

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