For the Hawke's Bay wine industry, 2015 was a good year.

In fact the industry has had a few good years, indeed great years, of late.

The 2013 and 2014 vintages were superb and hopefully, without putting the mockers on it, the current upcoming vintage is lining up to be another little red and white cracker.

Last year the exports of wine from New Zealand hit a record high of $15 billion, with the industry looking at trends and predicting that by 2020 it will likely hit the $2 billion mark.


Now that's worth raising a glass to, given that we have one of the primo regions in the land for producing the very best beverages from the once-humble grape.

Not so humble any more.

It is an export money-spinner, and the wine industry has risen to the sixth spot of the overall export goods chart.

The evolution of wine in Hawke's Bay has been nothing less than remarkable, and a testimony to the pioneers who defied several naysayers who reckoned some parts of the region were only good for the extraction of shingle or the grazing of sheep.

The United States is a rapidly expanding market and the reason for that is they effectively want "new world" style wines of very high quality.

And Hawke's Bay is producing them.

Exports to the US were up 26 per cent while exports to Canada were up 18 per cent, and up 12 per cent to the United Kingdom.

They are big jumps and a good reason for the confidence the industry has for the $2 billion target to be reached.

Wineries like Sileni Estate and Trinity Hill have developed very strong ties to the US, while many have created the same strong links to the rising markets of the east.

A lot of time, toil and money has been spent to get the Bay's industry into the shape it is today, and today it is, as they say, paying dividends.

And a major part of those dividends is the creation of jobs, as well as the tourism angle, and one could say with confidence that those numbers too will rise alongside the export numbers.

Another toast is called for.