US wine exports set new record in 2012

Ninety percent of the wine the United States exports is from California. Above, a Napa Valley vineyard.


Ninety percent of the wine the United States exports is from California. Above, a Napa Valley vineyard.

SAN FRANCISCO — US wine exports grew for the third consecutive year in 2012, setting a record of $1.43 billion in revenue, the Wine Institute said Thursday.

Ninety percent of those exports were from California. Shipments reached 112.2 million cases.


The European Union remained the top market for California wines, accounting for about 34 percent of sales. Sales in China reached $74 million in 2012, up 18 percent from the previous year. South Korea, at $16 million, was up 26 percent. And Vietnam, at $27 million, was up 22 percent.

Exports to Mexico also grew for a second consecutive year, to $20 million, an amount that was double the 2009 figure. In Canada, the second-largest market for California wines, sales reached $434 million, up 14 percent.

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The increase came despite a highly competitive global market, significant trade barriers, and a recovering economy, said the institute’s president, Robert P. Koch.

The institute promotes California wines through a video campaign, website, and social media campaigns around the globe.

‘‘We’ve seen a big demand,’’ said David Gates, vice president at Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino.


‘‘And as demand has picked up, we pushed a little harder into the more developing markets, the biggest one being China.’’

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