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US exports surge

US wine exports went up by 30% in the last year, and have increased more than 100% in the last 10 years.

Exports – 95% of which come from California – went up in value to US$876m in 2006 compared to US$673.5m in 2005, according to statistics just issued by the California Wine Institute.

The export surge reflects a long term trend, Wine Institute spokesman Joe Rollo told decanter.com.

In 1997, for example, total US wine exports were US$415m in value.

‘The 2006 figure represents a 109% increase in exports by value over the last 10 years,’ Rollo said. And the increase also reflects volume: to the tune of 100% over the last 10 years, he added.

Wine Institute president Robert Koch said that the growth is impressive considering the ‘trade barriers’ that California wineries face in worldwide markets.

These include protectionist tariffs, distribution restrictions and competition from foreign producers, he said.

Half of US wine production goes overseas, and growth was particularly high in Europe which increased by 48% in value. Exports to Canada grew 29% in value.

The figures show the Asian market to be particularly promising. China was up 53% by value, Singapore by 68% and Hong Kong by 19%.

‘In China, there is a boom for wines at all price levels. To some extent that appears to be true for other parts of Asia as well,’ Ed Kniep, president of US wine exporter American Wine Company told decanter.com.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos

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