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US wine exports hit new record in 2012

US wine exports edged to a new record value in 2012, despite sales to Hong Kong falling by almost a third.

US wine exports rose by 2.6% last year, hitting US$1.43bn, the Wine Institute has said.

Exports of US wine rose in most major markets, with California accounting for around 90% of sales.

However, the value of exports to Hong Kong sank by 30%, to $115m, after recording strong gains in 2011.   

Wine Institute president Robert Koch said that Hong Kong is still the ‘third largest export market by value’, despite losing ground in 2012.

Direct sales to China, meanwhile, increased by 18% in value during the year, to $74m. ‘We have launched a full scale campaign in China to introduce California wines in that expanding wine market,’ said Koch.

There were also export rises across other countries in south east Asia, including Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.  

Exports to the European Union, the biggest market for US wines, increased by 1.7% to $485m, despite the bloc’s economic malaise. Shipments to Canada rose by 14% to $434m, underlining the optimism around that market for many wineries worldwide at present.

Global export volumes for 2012 hit 424.6m litres.

Written by Chris Mercer

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