Tag Archives: Wine Institute

California Wine Sales Are Up, But Tariffs Could Change That

The news from the Wine Institute was very good with sales of wines from California up in volume and value. However, a ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) could put a crimp in future growth for the Golden State.

According to the Wine Institutes’ figures, California wine shipments in the United States were up 4.4% in 2014. The value of those shipments is estimated to have been $24.6 billion, which is up 6.7% from 2013. Also, domestic and international combined wine sales improved 3.7% year over year.

Though drought has made life tougher for California winemakers over the past few years, Wine Institute President Bobby Koch said:

“California has had three excellent harvests in both quantity and quality in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and these vintages are receiving global recognition.”

Oh no, Canada

Still, not all the news is good in California. The WTO sustained a ruling regarding meat-labeling rules complaint by Canada that may likely lead to a trade-war – at least in North America. The ruling that was upheld, states that both Canada and Mexico can add duty tariffs to products including wine. Exports of vino in California would suffer, so the U.S. wine industry is asking Congress to intervene.

Ironically, California wine sales topped the one billion dollar mark this past year in exports to Canada, making them the single biggest consumer of U.S. wine. However, those sales could see a tumble if the presumed taxes from Canada increase substantially.

NOTE: Congress has made a move to help winemakers in U.S. Click here for more.


Daryle W. Hier







California Drives U.S. Wine Exports In 2014

Even with a drought, port slowdown, an elongated recession and a state that is hurting rather than helping, the overall wine production in California was strong in 2014. And hence it helped lead the United States to its second highest dollar value ever for exporting wines, according to the Wine Institute.

Even though revenue was down slightly from a year ago, U.S. exports have trended upwards over the past several years, led by California which produces 90% of the countries exports. In total, there was about $1.5 billion in wine export revenue from the U.S.

Worldwide, consumers are clamoring more and more for California wines even if Europe has slowed in its desire for American vino has waned. Excluding China, exports to East Asian countries are up.

Oddly or not, there’s a budding patronage with the single biggest increase by any country for importing U.S. wines: Nigeria. The Wine Institutes numbers show the oil-rich nation saw a 172% increase from the year before, moving Nigeria into eighth worldwide as a consumer of American wines.

Volume up

Taken as a whole, total export volume rose slightly from a year ago with nearly 117 million gallons of wine exported from the U.S. The largest total increase of $33 million year-over-year was from Canada with 5.8 million gallons more shipped to the Great White North in 2014 over 2013.  Canada ranked second overall right behind the European Union (EU) as the biggest importer of American wine. Japan ranks a distant third behind the EU and Canada.

Other hindrances that the U.S. overcame to produce such powerful numbers is a strong dollar plus heavy foreign taxes and levies. While the many obstacles that have been laid before California vintners haven’t slowed production, the fact they generated more wine and still increased the quality says volumes about the Golden State’s place in the winemaking world.

By the way, the statistic stating 90% of wine in the United States produced by California might be low, considering much of the states wine is shipped to other states who in-turn ship overseas.

Not to be outdone, the U.S. only exports about one-tenth of the wine they make. Meaning a vast majority of its wines stay within its borders, to be drank by Americans. I’ll say bottoms up to that!


Daryle W. Hier