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U.S. Wine Export Revenues Fell in 2009

International Sales and Shipments of U.S. Wines Decrease

March 22, 2010

Bottles of wine ready to be shipped
In what is likely a sign of the struggling global economy, U.S. wine exports—90 percent of which was from California—slid 9.5 percent in value to an estimated $911.8 million in winery revenues in 2009, according to the San Francisco-based Wine Institute. Volume shipments decreased 14.9 percent to 417.9 million liters or 46.4 million nine-liter cases. The biggest decrease was in shipments to the European Union, the largest export market for U.S. wines, accounting for 42 percent of exports. Volume shipments to the market dropped by 21 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. Sales by value also dropped 22 percent, and the institute believes it was due in part to the continuing strategy of producers exporting bulk wine for bottling overseas to save the transportation costs of shipping bottles and other packaging.

Other top markets for U.S. wine exports in 2009 were: Canada, $242 million; Japan, $79 million; Hong Kong, $47 million; and China, $36 million. Despite the revenue loss in 2009, the Wine Institute remains optimistic on the outlook of California wines. “The California wine industry was not immune to the global recession, but fared better than most wine producing countries,” said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. Another official from the institute adds that California wines did reasonably well in new wine markets such as Poland and Russia.

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