California wine sales hit record amid tariff fears

news  %tages California wine sales hit record amid tariff fears

Shipments of California wine hit a new confirmation of 268.6m suitcases in 2014 thanks to increasing sales in the US, show new facts, but there is concern over the potential fallout from a trade dispute.

US wine drinkers in particular are buying more expensive bottles, but cheaper wines are being impacted by increasing competition from rival drinks categories, California's Wine Institute said.Its facts show total wine shipments from California rose 3.7% to 268.6m suitcases, with US shipments rising 4.4% to just below 225m suitcases and exports flat at 43.7m suitcases, excluding bulk wine.Augmented shipments of premium wines in the US pushed value up 6.7% to US$24.6bn, while US exports (90% from California) reached US$1.5bn in winery revenue terms from volumes of 49.3m suitcases, including bulk wine.The European Union accounted for $518m in exports, followed by Canada at $487m, Japan at $101m and China at $71m.‘The premium wine segment [in the US] – $10 and above – is strong with brilliant prospects for continued progression over the next few years,’ said wine industry consultant Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates.‘The value-priced wine segment has been shrinking because consumers are buying more expensive wine and because of competition from the increasing number of alcohol beverage offerings.’He added that, while premium wines accounted for only 25% of California wine volumes, they brought in nearly half (47%) of all revenues.Meanwhile, the Wine Institute has warned that exports to Canada and Mexico could be impacted by retaliatory duty tariffs in response to a WTO ruling that the US is violating its rules with its Country of Origin Marking (COOL) on meat products.Retaliation could cause ‘irreparable harm’ to US wine exports to Canada, the country’s leading single export market, Institute president and CEO Bobby Koch warned. See also:Graphic: California leads global vineyard fee rises

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