Exports of Australian wine reached their highest level in more than eight years in 2015, rising 14% to A$2.1bn (US$1.4bn), according to trade body Wine Australia.

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Australian wine exports in 2015 grew by value in all of the country’s top 15 export destinations – the first time this has happened – says the Wine Australia Export Report for December 2015.

Growth was spearheaded by China, Australia’s third biggest wine export market, where exports surged by 66% to A$370m versus 2014.

It means China is now only just behind the UK, which was essentially flat, with exports edging up 0.2% to A$376m. The UK remained Australia’s biggest export market by volume.

The figures add more evidence to signs of a resurgence for Australian wine on the international stage, even if many of the country’s winemakers are still struggling to turn a profit.

Exports to the US rose by 4% to A$443m, while Canada increased by 7% to A$193m and Hong Kong was up by 22% to A$132m.

‘This export growth should be warmly welcomed by the Australian grape growing and winemaking community as it is largely a result of their hard work,’ said Andreas Clark, Wine Australia CEO.

While exports rose at every price point, the biggest increase in FOB (free on board) export sales came in the over A$10 per litre category, up by 35% to a record A$480m and now accounting for 23% of all exports by value.

Bottled wine exports also continued their recovery, rising 17% to A$1.6bn, with average value up 7% to A$5.20/litre, their highest level on a calendar year basis since 2003.

Guy Adams, managing director of Langhorne Creek winery Brothers in Arms, said the company’s success in the US was down to ‘patience and persistence’, and significant investments of time and money.

Other companies keen to target the US should ‘be prepared to invest in the travel the market requires for success’, he added.