Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words


California Wine Exports Reach Record $1.46 Billion in 2016--That's 45.9 million cases

Despite challenges from a strong dollar, winery revenues were up 1% from 2015


February 20, 2017

California vines with grapes

U.S. wine exports, 90% from California, reached $1.62 billion in winery revenues in 2016, a new record.

Despite challenges from a strong dollar, winery revenues were up 1% from 2015. Volume was 412.7 million liters or 45.9 million cases.

"California wine exports continue to reflect the trend toward premiumization with the dollar value of our wine sales outpacing volume shipments. California wines are well positioned for this trend-our vintners are offering quality, value, diverse styles and environmental stewardship in their winemaking. Combined with the state's iconic lifestyle, innovative cuisine and beautiful destinations, California wines continue to gain attention from consumers worldwide," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO.

The top 10 export markets for California wines are: the European Union's 28-member countries, accounting for $685 million, followed by Canada, $431 million; Hong Kong, $99 million; Japan, $87 million; China, $82 million; Mexico, $24 million; South Korea, $23 million; Switzerland, $19 million; and Singapore, $14 million.

"California wine exports have grown 78% by value in the last decade despite heavily-subsidized foreign competitors and high tariffs. Our global trading partners are increasingly acknowledging the high quality of wine from the Golden State and responding to our California Wines marketing efforts throughout the world," said Wine Institute Vice President International Marketing Linsey Gallagher. Gallagher manages Wine Institute's California Wine Export Program, involving more than 170 wineries that export to 138 countries, and 15 representatives and offices in 25 countries across the globe.

"Trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have helped to dramatically grow U.S. wine exports yet discriminatory non-tariff trade barriers continue to be crafted by foreign governments at a steady pace," said Tom LaFaille, Wine Institute Vice President and International Trade Counsel. "We applaud U.S. government efforts to eliminate these barriers and strengthen our competitiveness globally, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge against Canada which seeks to ensure that British Columbia grocery store consumers can choose from the vast array of the world's great wines."

California wine grapes harvest

Since 1985, Wine Institute has served as the administrator of the Market Access Program, a cost-share export promotion program managed by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. Wine Institute's Export Program supports California Wines worldwide with a consumer website in eight languages, social media campaigns in 16 countries, an educational California Wines PowerPoint tool and videos, and a strong partnership with Visit California to increase tourism to California wine regions. Wine Institute organizes California's participation in international trade shows and trade missions, offers master classes and seminars as well as tastings for trade, media and consumers worldwide. Last year, the program hosted 150 international media and wine buyers from 15 countries for visits to California wine country. For information, see:


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