Raise a glass: report says wine exports set for bumper year

Sales of Australian wines to overseas buyers are expected to grow, with China's insatiable thirst for local drops helping drive the rosier outlook.

Sales of Australian wines to overseas buyers are expected to grow, with China's insatiable thirst for local drops helping drive the rosier outlook.

Export earnings for wine are forecast to increase by nearly 10 per cent in the 2013-14 financial year, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has found.

The quarterly ABARES agricultural commodities report, released on Tuesday, also predicts a 6 per cent rise in beef and veal exports and a whopping 15 per cent boost to dairy earnings.

ABARES executive director Paul Morris said wine exports were susceptible to the state of the global economy, and the slowdown in developed countries had affected sales in recent years. Ten years ago China imported virtually no wine from Australia, but has since become the third-largest destination for exports.

"The growth in that market is going to be reflected in terms of those higher returns [for Australian producers]," Mr Morris said.

Exports to the US and Britain, the No.1 and No.2 markets for local wines respectively, are also expected to pick up.

ABARES predicts Australia's gross value of farm production will hit a record $49 billion in 2013-14, with better rainfall boosting crop yields, and global prices driving demand for some commodities.

It is the fourth straight year of stronger returns for the farm sector, after a difficult decade marked by drought and adverse seasonal conditions. By comparison, total farm production in 2009-10 was $39.7 billion, about $10 billion less than what ABARES expects this financial year.

The value of exports overall has dipped slightly to $37.2 billion, but historically that is not bad considering the record high of $38 billion achieved last year.

Mr Morris said the exchange rate also had a big impact, with the outlook for the Australian dollar revised down since ABARES' last report in June.

AAP

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