US wineries exported a record $1.55 billion of wine last year, an increase of 16.4% on 2012, and the fourth consecutive years rise by value.
Volume shipments reached 435.2 million litres, 48.4 million cases, up 7.5%, with 90% of all exports coming from California, according to figures released by the Wine Institute of California.
The European Union’s 28 member countries accounted for $617 million of exports, up 31% on last year, followed by Canada, $454 million, up 12%; Japan, $102 million, down 7%; Hong Kong, $78 million, down 12%; China, $77 million, up 6%; Mexico, $22 million, up 21%; South Korea, $18 million, up 16%.
Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of the Wine Institute, said: “Consumers across the globe continue to recognise the quality, diversity and value of California wines, despite significant trade barriers and heavily subsidised foreign competitors.”
“While the U.S. remains our largest, most important market, California exports a fifth of its wine, and we are on track to reach our goal of $2 billion in exports by 2020. Our outstanding 2012 and 2013 California vintages, heralded for quality as well as quantity, were a record high so we have the ability to expand.”
The Wine Institute has launched a marketing program in 25 countries promoting California as an “aspirational place with beautiful landscapes, iconic lifestyle, great wine and food, and as an environmental leader”, said Linsey Gallagher, vice president for international marketing at the San Francisco trade group.
Its consumer website, www.discovercaliforniawines.com, has been translated into Chinese and will soon be launched in seven other languages, Gallagher said.
“Our programming in China has greatly expanded and allowed us to continue to show gains in that top priority market when our key competitors saw losses last year,” Gallagher said.
Sales in Asia, California’s fifth largest export market, grew by 3% in 2013 despite “detrimental effects” on China’s new government austerity program.
Other growth markets in Asia included South Korea, up 16% by value, and Singapore up 10%, while sales in Mexico grew by 21% and by 26% in Brazil.
The Institute is also working to lower tariffs and eliminate technical barriers that hamper US wineries from selling wine in key export markets, said Tom LaFaille, international trade counsel at the Wine Institute.
“In particular, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ‘Wine Regulators Forum’ helps developing countries to implement science-based regulations and eliminate burdensome and duplicative regulations. This five-year project will help significantly reduce the costs of cross-border wine trade, stimulate demand and increase U.S. exports to this important region,” LaFaille said in a statement.
The record export figures come as California struggles with one of the worst droughts in recent years,