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U.S. wine exports in 2014 second highest on record

European Union and Canada largest markets for U.S. wine

Exports of U.S. wine last year were the second-most valuable on record, reaching $1.49 billion in revenue, nearly all of it from California.

The European Union was the largest buyer of U.S. wine at $517 million, followed by Canada ($487 million) and Japan ($88 million), the Wine Institute said Wednesday.

About 90% of U.S. wine exports come from California.

A strong dollar and a slowdown at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles over a labor dispute challenged exporters.

Still, the volume of exports last year rose to 116.9 million gallons, up from 115 million in 2013 when revenue reached a record $1.55 billion.

“With three back-to-back California vintages heralded for their high quality and size, we have the ability to meet consumer demand for our wines both in the U.S. and abroad,” said Robert Koch, president and chief executive of the San Francisco-based Wine Institute, a trade association that advocates for the wine industry. “Despite our strong dollar and heavily subsidized foreign competition and their high tariffs, consumers worldwide are attracted to all things California.”

Exporters saw strong growth in Asian markets such as South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and Taiwan.

However, sales to China, the fourth-biggest market for U.S. wine, slipped 7.6% to $71 million because of a corruption crackdown and austerity campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Exports to Hong Kong, American wine’s fifth-biggest market and often a proxy for mainland China, also fell, by 10.7% to $69 million.

The value of U.S. wine exports have more than doubled in the last decade and have risen 64% since 2009.

A little more than one-tenth of the wine produced in the U.S. is exported.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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