Australian wine exports and the value of them increased in 2014 for the first time since 2007, with China again being the fastest growing international market after a recent drop in sales was reversed.
The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) released figures on Wednesday showing exports to Chinese mainland grew by 8 percent to 40 million litres, worth 183 million U.S. dollars.
Exports to Hong Kong were down by 2.5 percent, but the value of what was sent there grew 43 percent to 11.90 U.S. dollars per litre, while the premium wine segment leapt 127 percent to 42.46 million U.S. dollars.
Premium wines sell for 6.12 U.S. dollars to 8.12 U.S. dollars per litre on the export market, and ultra-premiums sell for 8.22 U. S. dollars and above.
The ultra-premium growth in Hong Kong meant that while volume dipped, earnings actually rose 39 percent to 88.72 million U.S. dollars.
The AGWA put a sharp decline in sales to China in 2013 down to the Chinese government's 2012 austerity measures, which saw a drop in so called gift sales and a general drop off in demand for luxury items.
But that reversed in 2014.
"In volume terms, bottled exports have almost recovered to the levels recorded before the full effects of the austerity measures took hold," the AWGA's Wine Export Approval Report stated.
Overall, total exports to Asia (excluding mainland China and the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong) increased by 7 percent to 36 million litres worth 244.1 million U.S dollars.
Exports to Singapore rose 35 percent to 48 million U.S. dollars. Malaysia also recorded an increase of 33 percent to 28.5 million U. S. dollars.
Globally, the AWGA reported a 1.9 percent increase in exports to 121 destinations, rising to 700 million litres worth 149 billion U.S dollars.
Of 1329 Australian wine exporters, 893 reported export growth.
The UK remains Australia's biggest export market by volume, dominated by exports of bulk wine (which is bottled at the destination).
Total volume bound for the UK increased by 4.5 percent to 249 million litres out of overall exports to Europe of 361 million litres, valued at 474.42 million U.S. dollars, a growth of 4 percent.
AGWA's Acting Chief Executive Andreas Clark said the premium price segments saw the strongest growth throughout the year.
"It's encouraging to see the value of Australian wine exports in positive growth for the first time since 2007 and increasing demand for our premium wines was a major contributing factor to that growth," he said.