Popularity of California wines continues to grow abroad

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wine grapesSAN FRANCISCO — California wine continues to be popular around the world. Exports of U.S. wines, 90 percent of which comes from California, reached an all-time high of $1.61 billion in 2015.

That was a 7.6 percent increase from 2014 and resulted from 51.2 million cases of wine being exported. That was up 4.1 percent from 2015.

The top 10 export markets for California wines included the European Union’s 28-member countries, which bought $622 million in California wine. They were followed by Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Nigeria, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland and Singapore.

“California wines appeal to consumers across the globe who recognize the unique quality and excellent value of our wines,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute president and CEO in a statement. “Consumers are also attracted to California’s trend-setting lifestyle, innovative cuisine, beautiful wine country destinations and emphasis on environmental responsibility—all of which are reflected in our wines.”

The Wine Institute’s top priority is keeping the international markets growing.

“Removing obstacles to trade and ensuring that California wines have fair and equal access to international sales channels remain our top focus,” Wine Institute Vice President and International Trade Counsel Tom LaFaille said. “Unfortunately, more and more countries and provinces are “modernizing” their laws to benefit only local wine producers. Wine Institute works closely with the U.S. government to continue to lead initiatives against discriminatory trade barriers which violate international agreements.”

The Wine Institute’s export program helps to promote wines around the world through its consumer website, social media, educational California Wines PowerPoint tool and a strong partnership with Visit California to increase tourism to California wine regions.

The program also organizes California’s participation in international trade shows and trade missions, hosts master classes and seminars as well as tastings for trade, media and consumers worldwide.

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