California moves to allay fears

The California Wine Institute has moved to allay fears that it is withdrawing support from the UK market, following the announcement that it is to close this regional office.

It says it will maintain a strong presence in the UK – the number one country in Europe for the state’s wines ­– and will increase support for California wines with new programming.

It says that concerns that the closure at the end of September, announced yesterday (August 18), means a “de-emphasizing” of the UK market , is “mistaken”.

The California tasting which normally takes place in the spring, as part of a California vintners’ European tour, will take place next year on September 25.  The institute says the date change is a “strategic decision by the institute and its members to prioritise the market by making it a stand-alone event rather than part of a larger tour.”

Institute vice president of international marketing, Linsey Gallagher, is quoted as saying: “California wines have made great progress in the UK in the past decade and we appreciate the contributions of John McLaren and Venla Freeman to this success.

”We look forward to building on our success with a new, more dynamic approach to presenting California wines in the U.K. and will announce our new representation this October,” she said.