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Global Wine Leaders at Export 2020 Highlight Trade Opportunities


SAN FRANCISCO — Industry leaders from around the world convened at Wine Institute’s “Export 2020: California Wine Global Export Conference” to hear from influential voices in the global wine trade on Feb. 18 at COPIA in Napa Valley. Keynote speakers opened the program with insights and perspectives on opportunities for California wine in the global marketplace and afternoon sessions led by Wine Institute’s international team provided in-depth discussion on how to grow export sales around the world.

Robert P. Koch
Robert P. Koch

Wine Institute has worked for nearly 35 years to expand opportunities for California wineries by removing trade barriers and promoting exports sales in key markets worldwide,” said Robert P. Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO. “Despite a challenging environment, the prospects for California wine are bright. In the past year alone, we have expanded market access in Canada, reached an agreement with Japan to eliminate tariffs on U.S. wine and forcefully articulated our position that wine should not be targeted in trade disputes that do not involve wine, and that all tariffs on wine traded between the U.S. and EU should be eliminated.”

Honore Comfort
Honore Comfort

“California’s wine exports have increased 60 percent by value in the last decade to $1.46 billion in winery revenues in 2018. and there are many opportunities for growth ahead,” said Honore Comfort, Vice President of International Marketing. “With our California Wine Export Program supporting trade education, consumer awareness and promotions in 25 top markets, we are setting an ambitious goal to exceed $2 billion in U.S. wine exports by 2030, with California making up 95 percent of those sales. We have the people and the plans in place to achieve that goal with the participation of wineries across California.”

Jancis Robinson
Jancis Robinson

Jancis Robinson, MW, with wine writer and educator, Elaine Chukan Brown, shared thoughts on the potential of California wine globally and the opportunity the Golden State has for leadership in the arena of sustainability. Robinson said that “the California lifestyle is as much a part of the story of the state’s wine as is its quality. Visitors exploring California wine country will find it beautiful and welcoming.” Winegrowers are also widening the range of good quality grape varieties grown. A broader range of both red and white varieties are increasingly becoming fashionable.

Elaine Chukan Brown concurred that the wider range of varieties and price points being produced is a positive development in attracting customers for California wines around the world as well as in the U.S. “While Chardonnay remains the darling of California white wine, California also does well producing high acid whites, such as Albarino and Vermentino, or other French whites including Picpoul Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier.”

The Export 2020 conference also presented a panel discussion, “Global Trends by Sales Channel: What is the Impact on California Wine,” moderated by Andrew Catchpole, Editor, Harper’s Wine & Spirit, with wine industry experts including George Soleas, President & CEO of Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), Canada. The afternoon included sessions featuring global leaders in international wine and business including Masters of Wine Ken Ohashi and Fongyee Walker, Master Sommelier Will Costello, and leaders from Systembolaget in Sweden, and prominent retailers, educators and sommeliers from the UK, Denmark, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Asia.

Export 2020 keynote morning remarks are available for viewing for a limited time here. A complete list of speakers is available here.

Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment to responsibly produce, promote and enjoy wine. Wine Institute membership represents more than 80 percent of U.S. wine production and 95 percent of U.S. wine exports. Wine Institute’s export promotion program for California wines involves more than 170 wineries that export to 142 countries. Thirteen global representative offices conduct marketing and promotional programs in 25 countries across the globe. For more information visit wineinstitute.org.

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