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."Canada
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