California Wine Exports in 2013

Wine Institute global promotions continue in the new year

by Kate Lavin
california wine institute asia trip
Brent Shortridge greets members of the wine trade at a tasting Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
San Francisco, Calif.—In 2013, Brent Shortridge hopes to open two or three new export markets in Asia for Anders-Lane Artisan Wines, the 120,000-case wine producer and marketing company whose seven brands include Waterstone Winery and Mandolin Wines.

This fall the partner at Anders-Lane traveled to six Asian cities to strengthen sales in areas where Waterstone already has distribution and to expand the reach of Mandolin Wines, which features varietals from the Central Coast. The trip was part of a trade mission organized by the Wine Institute to include two cities where the organization is seeking broader recognition for California wines (Shenzhen, China, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) as well as a handful of recognized trade partners (Hong Kong; Seoul, South Korea; Taipei, Taiwan, and Tokyo, Japan.)

“Tokyo is what we would call a mature market. We’ve been working in that market for at least 20 years now,” said Shortridge, who serves as chairman of the Wine Institute’s International Program Committee. “It’s one of our top 10 markets around the world. There is a wine culture that is very developed.”

In 2012, exports to Japan totaled $9.5 billion—more than 8% of the market share for U.S. wine exports and a 16.7% increase over 2011 figures.

california wine institute asia trip
Sales in Vietnam
Of the countries visited during the tour, Vietnam saw the steepest increase in U.S. wine exports, with a 53% increase in U.S. dollars from 2011 to 2012. The starting number was much lower, however; in 2012 U.S. wine exports to Vietnam were valued at $19.4 million.

In 2012 Vietnam reduced its duty on imported wine to 55%. As recently as 2005 the country had an 80% duty, and a series of regulatory changes may be responsible for the growing imports market. Vietnam is a former French colony, and France is the No. 1 wine exporter to Vietnam. Australia and Chile are vying to claim market share in the country, which is experiencing growth in its upper and middle class.

In emerging markets like Vietnam, Shortridge said, consumers are experiencing California wine for the first time. “Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam, is a market seeing some growth in the California wine business,” he said. “People are committed to coming to the show.

“After these trade shows I usually end up having four or five (importers) showing interest in the brand, and then it’s a matter of sending samples and getting their staff to taste. I would expect we’ll be opening up two out of three” emerging markets (Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City and Taipei) for Mandolin Wines.

According to the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau, the following information is required to be printed on the label of wine imports in Vietnamese: Name/brand; producer/distributor/importer; country of origin; net volume (ml); alcohol content (%) and instructions for preservation. For more information, visit ttb.gov.
california wine institute asia trip
Website for China
The final stop of the tour was in Shenzhen, a major Chinese city just north of Hong Kong. According to Shortridge, “just based on population (China) could be a major market.”

For that reason Wine Institute recently launched a website for Chinese-speaking consumers. In addition to promoting California wines, the institute hopes the website will increase wine tourism from China. “People think of Hollywood and travel, but they don’t think of wine and California,” Shortridge said of emerging Asian markets.

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