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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Exports of wine from New Zealand have exceeded NZ$1 billion ($706 million) for the first time, with the strong growth rate of the past two decades showing no sign of abating, the industry body said on Wednesday. Export sales for the year to July 2009 were NZ$1.01 billion, despite some pressure on prices as a result of the global recession, said Philip Gregan, chief executive of New Zealand Winegrowers.
"We're still seeing strong demand, and our wines are seen as a good fit with modern lifestyles and cuisine, which puts us in a good place," Gregan told Reuters.
It was likely the industry could achieve NZ$1.5 billion in exports within the next five years, he said.
The single largest export market is Australia, also a major wine producer, and Gregan said it was style and a focus on quality that was driving the appeal of New Zealand wines.
After Australia, the main export markets were Britain and the United States, with fast-growing markets emerging in Europe and Asia.
Reporting by Adrian Bathgate