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Eleven Participating Countries Represent More than 80 Percent of California Wine Exports
SAN FRANCISCO — Wine Institute held its second international “California Wines Summit” last week hosting 23 key wine media and buyers from Canada, the U.K., Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, China, Japan, Taiwan and Brazil. The weeklong slate of tastings and experiences was geared toward building on California’s worldwide reputation as a high quality wine producer and top destination for wine country travel. The influential media/buyer group tasted 400 wines from more than 50 American Viticultural Areas in California, presented by nearly 200 vintners from across the state.
The 11 countries represented by the Summit visitors account for more than 80 percent of California wine exports. U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, were $1.5 billion in 2014, the second highest dollar value and a 64 percent increase from five years ago.
“California is the fourth leading wine producer and seventh largest wine exporter worldwide, and our Summit is helping to increase international exposure and affirm our vintners’ well-deserved reputation for quality,” said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. “We showcased the people and wines of California, our regional diversity and strong environmental stewardship. Also the ‘fresh, local, seasonal’ wine and food lifestyle in the state was celebrated. This event is an important part of our goal to reach $2 billion in California wine exports by 2020.”
California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross and respected industry analyst Jon Fredrikson kicked off the program, showing the state’s strong support for its wine industry. California wine creates 330,000 wine jobs in the state and has a $62 billion economic impact on California. In addition, wineries attract more than 21 million tourists each year.
During the week, the guests learned about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) and how it has established California as the world’s environmental leader in the number of cases and acreage represented by the program’s 1,900 participating wineries and vineyards which farm 72 percent of winegrape acreage and produce 74 percent of case production. The guests participated in in-depth tastings of Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and sparkling wines led by top U.S. wine media and trade. They also tasted wines from next and new generation vintners, and experienced old and new vintages from select producers around the state to show the ageability of California wines.
“Our Summit allowed this key global group to engage directly with our vintners and learn about California’s major trends and innovations,” said Linsey Gallagher, Wine Institute Vice President of International Marketing. “The week showed the diversity and quality of California wines and provided time to enjoy the scenic beauty as well as the wine, food and lifestyle of California wine country.”
(Editors, more photos and a summit guest list available upon request.)