California Wines Get A Boost From Governor Brown's China Trade Mission

Apr 09, 2013, 16:29 ET from Wine Institute

Upcoming Vintner Delegations to Follow to State's No.5 Export Market

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California wines, a key element of the state's culinary lifestyle that draws visitors from around the world, will be presented at a series of events this week during Governor Brown's Trade Mission to China April 9-12, paving the way for vintner delegations heading to the country later this spring.  As part of Wine Institute's partnership with Visit California, the state's tourism organization, Golden State wines will be featured at an event billed, "California Winemaker's Dinner Meets Chinese Banquet" in Shanghai, as well as a VIP reception at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Sales to China helped grow California wine exports to a record $1.4 billion in sales last year.  China is the state's fifth largest export market with $74 million in wine sales in 2012, up nearly 20 percent from the previous year, with a growth trend that has grabbed the attention of vintners throughout the state.

"Wine is a signature industry for California and one of our state's top agricultural exports," said Robert P. Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute, who is part of the Governor's delegation in China this week. "Our exports to China have nearly doubled in the past two years and the country represents a great opportunity for California wineries."

Two California wine delegations responding to that potential will be heading to cities in China in April and May.  Napa Valley Vintners will present "Taste Napa Valley" April 12-20 in Shanghai, Beijing, Hanghzhou and Xi'an.  Wine Institute will travel with a delegation of 50 vintners from regions around the state May 20-27 with stops in Shanghai, Beijing, Ningbo and Hong Kong for consumer events, tastings and educational seminars for trade and media. 

These activities support California wines awareness-building campaign in China which is now in its third year and includes advertising, point of sale and educational materials, a dedicated website and social media.  "California Wines Master Class" is a new initiative for trade and media covering history, climate, regions, varietals and food pairing, which will debut in cities throughout the country during the Governor's visit in April. 

"Chinese consumers are learning quickly about the connection between California as a world-class travel destination and California as a source of world-class wines," said Linsey Gallagher, Director of International Marketing for Wine Institute.  "As they grow in their understanding of the quality and diversity of California wines, so will our sales."

Wine Institute is the trade association representing 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses.  Since 1985, Wine Institute's International Department has served as administrator of California wine export programs by the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service.  Wine Institute headquarters are in San Francisco with trade representatives in 15 countries, including China.  About 150 California wineries participate in the Wine Institute's International program.

SOURCE Wine Institute