Exports to mainland China grew 51% to $474m AUD ($363m USD) in the year ending September 2016, according to figures released by Wine Australia today.
A decade ago, exports to China were valued at just $27m ($20m USD).
Such ‘exceptional growth’ means that China overtakes the US as the top export market for wine by value.
The other top export markets are the UK, Canada and Hong Kong.
China-Australia Free Trade Agreement
A key factor behind the growth in exports to China is the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on December 20, 2015.
The growing Chinese middle class’ increased interest in wine has also driven growth, with both average consumption frequency of imported wine and the number of imported wine drinkers on the rise.
In addition, China is showing interest in higher value Australian wines.
Exports priced $10 or more per liter FOB were up by 63% for mainland China, reaching $190m ($146m USD).
In fact, more than a third of all Australian wine exports in this price category were destined for China.
Negociants International, a premium wine exporter, says it is confident that growth will continue, particularly at higher price points.
It also points to the ability to reach consumers through online platforms such as TMall.
Executive director, Adam O’Neill, said: “The demand for our premium wines in China shows no sign of abating and it is particularly pleasing to see high levels of engagement from key trade and media.”
Total exports for Australian wine topped $2.17bn ($1.66bn USD), up 10% in value.
Volume exports reached 734m liters, up 0.2% from the previous year.