Chinese pay $500 a bottle for this Qld wine
AUSTRALIA has overtaken France to become the biggest seller of wine into the booming Chinese market this year.
By value, more wine was imported into China from Australia than any other country in the five months to May, government authority Wine Australia says.
The development cements the Australian wine industry as one of the most important and valuable in the world.
And Queensland wine makers are getting in on the action.
Queensland Wine Industry Association president Mike Hayes said the local industry was relatively small compared with other Australian regions.
"We're tiny in size but we rule like a lion," he said, noting that some Queensland wines were growing in popularity in overseas markets.
Mt Cotton-based Sirromet Wines has been exporting to China for the past eight years.
"We target the top 5 per cent of wine drinkers in China," Sirromet general manager Rod Hill said.
"The future for our wine industry is really bright in China … China totally buys into how good and clean our climate is and have a good understanding of our environmental conditions here."
According to Mr Hill, Sirromet's most popular label in China - Saint Jude's Road - sells for $500 a bottle.
Australia has previously had stints as China's top wine producer, but only briefly, edging out France in October 2017, and again in March and December last year. Wine Australia says across the past financial year, total exports to China, including Hong Kong and Macau, climbed 7 per cent in value to $1.2 billion. By volume exports fell 16 per cent to 154 million litres.
Wine Australia said the total value of all Australian wine exports in the past financial year grew 4 per cent to $2.86 billion. But export volumes fell 6 per cent to 801 million litres.
That was driven by a decrease of 7 per cent in shipments of wine below an average value of $2.50 a litre.
Wine Australia chief Andreas Clark said the growth in value and the declines in volume at that lower-end of the price spectrum would be welcome for a sector that had been focusing strongly on growing value.
"The strong growth in average value is positive for the wine sector and the broader economy as it lifts returns for wine businesses and flows through to regional economies through higher grape prices," he said.