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Australian wine imports double

Australian wine imports doubled last year while domestic wine sales fell, new figures show.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that import wine volumes doubled from November 2006 to November 2007, as domestic wine sales fell almost 9%.

Over the 12-month period, average volumes of imported foreign wine leaped from 3m to 6m litres, said Damian Sparkes, manager of the ABS wine statistics unit.

‘Historically, New Zealand is the largest contributor, with European countries in second, led by France,’ he told decanter.com.

Out of the 6.1m litres of imported wine in November 2007, New Zealand accounted for 3.2m. Of the smaller importing countries, Chile advanced the most, Sparkes said.

Much of the increase comes as domestic wine sales dipped by 8.7 per cent to 34m litres.

Sparkes blamed ‘environmental’ reasons resulting in a smaller Australian grape crush over the last year.

‘There was a drought,’ he said. Bush fires resulted in smoke taint in the fruit and there was the development of fungus in cooler weather climates.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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