North Bay Business Journal

Thursday, February 21, 2013, 11:13 am

Wine export value grows 3% on lower volume

‘Because of our quality, diversity and value’


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    U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, last year increased 2.6 percent in winery revenue to a record $1.43 billion from 2011, but at the same time, shipment volume dipped 4.9 percent, a major wine trade policy advocacy group announced today.

    Export volume last year fell to 424.6 million liters, or 112.2 million cases, from 446.6 million liters in 2011, according to San Francisco-based Wine Institute. [See figures on U.S. wine exports below.]

    “California wine exports continue to increase because of our quality, diversity and value, despite a highly competitive global market, significant trade barriers and a still recovering economy,” said Robert “Bobby” Koch, Wine Institute president and chief executive officer. “We’ve worked to create more opportunities to export our wines by supporting our government in opening markets with free-trade agreements and other negotiations.”

    Of the top markets for California Wines, the European Union’s 27-member countries are the largest accounting for $485 million, up 1.7 percent; followed by Canada, $434 million, up 14 percent; Hong Kong, $115 million, down 30 percent; Japan, $111 million, up 6 percent; China, $74 million, up 18 percent; Vietnam, $27 million, up 22 percent; Mexico, $20 million, up 4 percent; South Korea, $16 million, up 26 percent.

    “Our global campaign supporting our California wine exports communicates California as an aspirational place-its beautiful landscapes, iconic lifestyle, leadership in sustainability, and great wine and food,” said Wine Institute International Marketing Director Linsey Gallagher. “All of our marketing activities in 25 countries convey these messages to consumers and trade around the world.”

    Wine Institute also expanded those marketing messages to a new “California Wines” video campaign and to Facebook and Twitter social media campaigns across the globe, and is in the process of translating the group’s consumer website, discovercaliforniawines.com, into eight languages. The group has also launched a major campaign in China to introduce California wines in that expanding wine market.

    “The Wine Institute is collaborating with our U.S. Government as well as the World Wine Trade Group, the EU and Pacific Rim governments to reduce trade barriers,” said Tom LaFaille, international trade policy director. “In particular, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ‘Wine Regulators Forum’ are working to implement good regulatory practices that will protect consumers and facilitate trade in our Asia-Pacific markets.”


    The Canadian consumer continues to embrace California wines, making the state the fastest-growing wine region in this country by volume and value, according to Rick Slomka, Wine Institute trade director for Canada. Much of the growth is coming from red blend brands which have strong appeal to the younger generation of wine consumers.

    At the same time, Canadian consumers continue to show interest in California wines at higher price points with sales of premium wines reaching higher levels than ever before. This momentum is expected to continue in 2013 with major retail promotions this spring in the three largest provincial markets of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

    Continental European Union

    “Germany remains a key market for California wines, with exports increasing 6 percent in value. Renewed interest from several large retailers that conducted California promotions last year contributed to that growth,” said Wine Institute European Trade Director Paul Molleman.

    Another key market is Sweden, where the Systembolaget monopoly reported California wine sales of almost 17 million bottles, mostly red wine, up 14 percent from 2011.

    United Kingdom

    “California wine exports grew by 6.1 percent in value while France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Chile and South Africa all lost ground in the UK on-trade market,” said Wine Institute UK Trade Director John McLaren.

    With an uncertain economy, and against a background of governmental anti-alcohol abuse measures, the UK wine trade has suffered some setbacks, but California has done well to preserve its market share and take advantage of some new opportunities in the independent retail and restaurant sectors.


    “U.S. bulk wine exports to Japan have been growing as major Japanese importers are now importing popular-priced California wine brands in bulk and bottling in Japan,” said Wine Institute Japan Trade Director Ken-ichi Hori. “This reduces the burdensome import duty to a limited extent and makes inventory control easier.”

    For bottled U.S. wine, Japan is now importing more premium priced California wines than in the past. Unlike other New World wine exporting countries, California wine is well represented in high-end restaurants because of our successful annual restaurant promotion, Mr. Hori said.

    China and emerging markets

    “Wine’s prominence is growing throughout Asia as consumption remains buoyant and forecasts estimate continued growth,” said Eric Pope, regional director for emerging markets.

    Hong Kong is California’s third largest export market by value, but that value declined in 2012 compared with impressive growth the previous years following elimination of Hong Kong’s 80 percent import duty.

    Exports to China, a top-priority growth market for Wine Institute member vintners, increased 18 percent to $74 million and remains the fifth-largest export market by value, according to Mr. Pope.

    South Korea’s growth increased to 26 percent, following the recent U.S.–Korea Free Trade Agreement.

    Exports to Mexico grew a second consecutive year with the value there, nearly doubling since 2009.

    Since 1985, Wine Institute has served as the administrator of the Market Access Program, an export promotion program managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. More than 150 wineries participate in Wine Institute’s California Wine Export Program and export to 125 countries.

    Exports by the numbers

    U.S. wine exports 1994–2012

    (millions of dollars)
    Year Gallons Liters Cases Winery revenue
    2012 112.2 424.6 47.2 $1,432
    2011 118.0 446.6 49.6 $1,395
    2010 111.3 421.2 46.8 $1,145
    2009 110.3 417.7 46.4 $912
    2008 129.7 490.9 54.5 $1,008
    2007 120.2 455.0 50.6 $955
    2006 106.9 404.5 44.9 $876
    2005 102.6 388.2 43.1 $674
    2004 121.9 461.3 51.3 $809
    2003 92.3 349.2 38.8 $621
    2002 74.5 282.1 31.3 $549
    2001 80.3 303.9 33.8 $541
    2000 77.7 294.2 32.7 $547
    1999 76.8 290.6 32.3 $560
    1998 71.9 272.0 30.2 $537
    1997 60.0 227.1 25.2 $425
    1996 47.5 179.7 20.0 $326
    1995 38.8 147.0 16.3 $241
    1994 35.2 133.4 14.8 $196

    Sources: Wine Institute and Global Trade Information Services, using U.S. Department of Commerce data. Statistics may not convert exactly due to rounding. Historical figures have been revised.

    U.S. wine exports dollar value 1994-2012 - Wine Institute

    Sources: Wine Institute and Global Trade Information Services, using U.S. Department of Commerce. (click to enlarge)

    U.S. wine exports

    Year to date: January–December
    2012 and 2011
      Value (U.S. dollars) Chg. Volume (liters) Chg.
    Ranked by 2012 Value
    2012 2011 (%) 2012 2011 (%)
    European Union Total** 485,314,192 477,416,172 1.65 227,751,562 251,791,170 -9.55
    Canada 433,570,362 379,393,227 14.28 76,122,127 68,497,095 11.13
    Hong Kong 114,611,723 163,051,238 -29.71 16,755,204 23,752,006 -29.46
    Japan 111,273,425 105,409,968 5.56 29,830,429 27,365,990 9.01
    China 73,573,469 62,132,643 18.41 17,792,583 16,082,407 10.63
    Vietnam 26,696,075 21,939,558 21.68 2,824,921 2,216,000 27.48
    Mexico 20,421,663 19,718,359 3.57 8,087,547 8,886,353 -8.99
    Korea South 15,941,216 12,635,231 26.16 4,038,132 5,092,043 -20.70
    Switzerland 14,434,590 25,021,741 -42.31 4,571,748 6,657,092 -31.33
    Singapore 11,399,702 12,185,515 -6.45 2,129,242 2,506,840 -15.06
    Taiwan 11,346,362 9,314,553 21.81 2,188,594 2,144,695 2.05
    Philippines 8,327,174 8,194,019 1.63 3,077,178 3,429,933 -10.28
    Macau 7,816,574 15,375,081 -49.16 1,013,919 3,286,044 -69.14
    Bahamas 7,534,658 5,882,737 28.08 1,670,391 1,433,185 16.55
    Thailand 5,855,041 5,705,329 2.62 1,396,849 1,234,456 13.16
    Columbia 5,609,913 1,994,159 181.32 2,075,312 654,793 216.94
    Russia 5,275,239 8,620,783 -38.81 1,670,864 3,913,841 -57.31
    Dominican Republic 5,057,155 3,874,420 30.53 1,596,016 1,337,026 19.37
    United Arab Emirates 4,336,874 2,214,681 95.82 695,867 394,631 76.33
    Australia 4,320,699 2,952,558 46.34 967,955 695,870 39.10
    Other Countries 59,078,630 52,285,781 12.99 18,305,903 15,250,985 26.68
    Global total 1,431,794,736 1,395,317,753 2.61 424,562,343 446,622,455 -4.94

    Sources: Wine Institute & Global Trade Information Services, using U.S. Department of Commerce data. Preliminary numbers. History revised. Statistics may not convert exactly due to rounding.

    Notes: All totals include re-exported wines. **Statistics for the 27 EU countries are combined, because trans-shipments to final destinations in neighboring countries make a country-by-country breakdown not reflective of actual consumption in each country. To convert liters to gallons, multiply liters by 0.26418. To convert liters to cases, divide liters by 9.

    Correction, Feb. 22, 2013: California wine exports grew by 6.1 percent in value. Exports to Macau in 2012 were 1,013,919 liters and to “other countries,” 18,305,903 liters. Incorrect information was provided for the initial story.

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