|Wine Institute's media/trade guests tasted 350 California wines from 50 American Viticultural Areas during the weeklong international Summit.|
SAN FRANCISCO — Wine Institute held its first international "California Wines Summit" last week hosting 21 key wine media and buyers from Canada, the U.K., Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan and China. The weeklong slate of tastings and experiences was geared toward building on California's worldwide reputation as a high quality wine producer and top destination for wine country travel. U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, were $1.4 billion in 2012, a record for the third straight year. Exports seven months through July 2013 are up nearly 16 percent by value and on track for making another record this year. The seven countries represented by the Summit visitors account for nearly 80 percent of California wine exports.
"As the fourth leading wine producer and seventh largest wine exporter worldwide, California vintners are working to increase international access and affirm the well-deserved reputation for quality," said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. "The Summit showcased the great people and wines of California and the environmental stewardship of both. Also highlighted were the rich and fun experiences of the wine and food lifestyle in the state. It is an important part of our ambitious goal to reach $2 billion in California wine exports by 2020."
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom joined a kick-off presentation in San Francisco to show the state's strong support for its wine industry and share his personal experiences as the founder of a retail wine shop, three wineries as well as restaurants and hotels. California wine creates 330,000 wine jobs in the state and has a $62 billion economic impact on California. In addition, the wineries attract 21 million tourists each year.
During the week, the influential media/buyer group tasted 350 wines from more than 50 American Viticultural Areas in California, presented by 150 vintners from across the state. The guests learned about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) and how it has established California as the world's environmental leader in the number of cases and acreage represented by the program's 1,800 participating wineries and vineyards which farm 72 percent of winegrape acreage and produce 74 percent of case production. The media/trade participated in in-depth tastings of Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, blended wines, sparkling wines and value wines led by top U.S. wine media and trade. The group also previewed the heralded 2012 vintage, tasted wines from next and new generation vintners, and experienced old and new vintages from select producers around the state to show the ageability of California wines.
"Our Summit provided a comprehensive look at the major trends and innovations of California wine as well as a chance for this key group to interact directly with our vintners," said Linsey Gallagher, Wine Institute Vice President of International Marketing. "The week showed the diversity and quality of California wines and provided time to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, wine, food and lifestyle excursions in California wine country."
Since 1985, Wine Institute's International Department has served as administrator of California wine export programs by the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. Wine Institute headquarters are in San Francisco with trade representation in 15 countries. More than 170 wineries participate in Wine Institute's California Wine Export Program and export to 125 countries.
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