For the first time, Australia surpassed France in imports to the United States this year. Between 1984 and 2000 exports have increased roughly 14 times. The combination of sunny climate, extensive plantings of popular varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet (there are no indigenous vines in Australia), and technical know-how born of a native penchant for innovation and worldwide experience, makes Australia's incredible growth less surprising.
In addition, Australia can produce wine more economically than California and Europe due to the development and wide spread use of mechanized viticulture. The influence of Australia's winemakers and viticulturists on canopy management, trellising and pruning techniques can be felt throughout the winemaking regions of the world. An informal exchange program has sprung up as more and more Australian winemakers travel to work harvest in the northern hemisphere, and Americans and Europeans reciprocate.