California wine exports down 4.8% in value


“US wine exports to Japan by value held steady, declining only 1% in 2018 while volume was down 22%. US wines declined mainly in bulk wine exports to Japan which were down by 34% in volume. At the same time, California wine is long established in the Japan market and showed strong performance in the premium category thanks to the ongoing popularity of steakhouses serving aged beef. We are excited with the success of our signature activities such as the annual by-the-glass program,” said Hiro Tejima, Wine Institute’s joint trade director Japan. “The US and South Africa are the only two major wine exporters without free trade agreements with Japan and are still subject to the full 15% import duty. A US-Japan free trade agreement will put us on a level playing field with our key competitors and further boost California wines in this market.”

China and Pacific Rim

“In 2018, US wine exports to Asia experienced a softening compared to the healthy growth rates of the prior two years. A nearly 25% decline in exports to China by value was the largest contributor to the softness, primarily the result of trade issues between the US and China and the increased tariffs on US wines imported into mainland China. The long-term prospects for California wine sales in China, however, remain very strong. Exports to Hong Kong are a bright spot, growing 10% to $130m in 2018. Clearly some of these wines are being re-exported to other countries including mainland China. Exports to Vietnam increased by 51% from a small base. Vietnam is a promising market for California wines with its huge population, young average age, and aspirational consumer psychographics,” said Christopher Beros, Wine Institute trade director for China and Pacific Rim.