New Zealand wine is the drink of choice for many Americans who would rather pay more for a bottle than get it from Australia.
Bloomberg reported the value of Kiwi wine shipped to the US jumped 11 per cent to $400 million last year - the biggest gain among its top eight importers.
The gain exceeded Australia's earnings there for the first time, according to Bloomberg and figures obtained from Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates.
Aussie shipments reportedly dropped 8 per cent, and Argentina's fell 4 per cent.
Melbourne-based analyst Marc Soccio from Rabobank told Bloomberg the increase in exports was due to US drinkers becoming more discerning.
"We are seeing newer generations who have grown up around wine, and are more comfortable around wine, graduating to more expensive wine earlier in their drinking lives than the baby boomers ever did," Soccio said. "These trends have naturally played into the hands of a country like New Zealand.''
New Zealand's total wine exports jumped 10 per cent last year, to more than $1.57 billion, Bloomberg reported.
Exports to the US have doubled in the past five years.