The export value of New Zealand wine has reached a record high, according to the 2017 Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers .

Now valued at NZD$1.66 billion, up 6% in the year to 30 June 2017, wine now stands as New Zealand’s fifth-largest goods export.

Over the past two decades the wine industry has achieved average annual export growth of 17% a year, states the Report.

“With diversified markets and a strong upward trajectory, the industry is in good shape to achieve NZD$2 billion of exports by 2020,” said Steve Green, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers.

According to the Report, exports to the USA have led the strong growth, passing NZD$500 million for the first time (up 12% over 2016). New Zealand wine became the third most valuable wine import into the USA, behind only France and Italy.

Mr Green highlighted that in order to achieve continuing value growth, it is critical for the industry to maintain focus on protecting and enhancing its reputation as a distinctive, quality product. “Our premium reputation remains the greatest collective asset for New Zealand wine, and underlies the high average price our wine commands in global trade,” he said.

Improved protection of New Zealand’s regional identities through the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act, and initiatives such as the launch of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Continuous Improvement extension programme, will help enhance the world-class reputation of New Zealand wine as a premium and sustainable product, said Mr Green.