Australia has overtaken the UK as the biggest export market for New Zealand wines, according to the country’s winegrowers’ association.

Although exports to the UK increased by 8% last year, the Australian market grew by 37%. The increased consumption of New Zealand wines in Australia means the country’s market is now worth NZ$247m (£94m), overtaking Britain, which consumed marginally less – NZ$240m (£92m).

However, according to Stuart Smith, chairman of national wine body New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW), the attempt to persuade UK consumers to pay more for New Zealand wines has been successful.

‘The average bottle of New Zealand wine sold in the United Kingdom [is] now £6.47, which is £2.09 ahead of the nearest competitor,’ he said.

In total, New Zealand’s wine exports increased 14% year-on-year and are now worth NZ$797m (£305m). The NZW expects export sales to hit NZ$1bn (£380m) by 2010.

Written by Erica Loi