Australian wine exports rose by 3.6 per cent in volume and 3.9 per cent in value of wine exports in the 12 months to end of March 2015, according to the latest findings from the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA). AGWA’s Chief Executive Officer Andreas Clark said the AGWA’s Wine Export Approval Report March 2015 showed that anecdotal evidence of a renewed interest in Australian wines globally was now being reflected in export figures. “Some of the strongest growth is seen in the premium price segments and we’ll be continuing to champion Australia’s finest wines in our global marketing activities,” Mr Clark said. “While the above A$7.50 price segment accounts for just 5 per cent of total export volume, the value share is considerably higher at 27 per cent,” he said. “Certainly the depreciating dollar has an effect but we’re also reaping benefits from the commencement of the Japanese free trade agreement, a rebound in the Chinese market from their austerity measures and improved economic conditions in two of our biggest export markets, the US and the UK,” Mr Clark said about the recent growth. Total Australian wine export volume increased by 3.6 per cent to 711 million litres and total value increased by 3.9 per cent to A$1.85 billion. The average value of exports remained steady at A$2.60 per litre. Over the last 12 months, Australian wine was exported to 123 destinations by 1,385 exporters with the majority (890 exporters) again recording volume growth. Asia a ‘key driver’ of growth Asia continued to be a key driver, with more than half of exports in the above A$7.50 per litre segment shipped to Asian markets (up 13 per cent). The average value of exports to Asia was A$18.77 per litre. The biggest Asian market for exported wines is still China, but Japan also saw strong growth, as did emerging Asian markets such as Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines. Exports to China continued to recover, up 20 per cent to 44 million litres and valued at A$242 million. Bulk exports increased 77 per cent to 5 million litres while bottled exports experienced record growth, up 15 per cent to 39 million litres. The lower and higher price segments were the key drivers of the growth with bottled exports below A$5 per litre up 25 per cent to 24 million litres while bottled exports above A$7.50 per litre increased by 12 per cent to 7 million litres meaning China remains the number one destination for premium Australian wines. Exports to Japan grew by 20 per cent to a record 11 million litres in a strong indication that exporters are indeed enjoying the benefits of the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). Under JAEPA, the first of the bottled wine tariff cuts came into effect on 15 January 2015 and the second cut was implemented on 1 April reducing the tariff to 11.3 per cent, down from 15 per cent. The tariff on bottled will be eliminated entirely within seven years while the tariff on bulk wines was immediately reduced to zero. The zero per cent tariff on bulk wine was reflected in the growth of bulk wine exports in the first three months of the calendar year, up 414 per cent compared to the same period in 2014. Other Asian markets experiencing growth include Thailand (up 47 per cent to a record 3.6 million litres valued at A$14 million), Malaysia (record volume and value growth up 10 per cent to 3.2 million litres and up 25 per cent to A$38 million respectively), Taiwan (up 33 per cent to 1.7 million litres while value grew 66 per cent to A$15 million) and the Philippines (up 22 per cent to 1.2 million litres and growing in value by 19 per cent to A$5.6 million).