US wine exports hit new high
Exports of US wine passed the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2008.
Shipments were up 6% on the previous year, according to figures from the Wine Institute, based in San Francisco.
Volume exports were 8% ahead of 2007, at 55 million cases.
The value of exports to Hong Kong were ahead by 244%%, China by 34% and Austria by 31%.
Sales to the EU rose by 2% though the US saw sales fall by nearly a third in South Korea and Switzerland, with small declines in the Japanese and Mexican markets.
The EU accounts for nearly half of all the wine exported from the US.
President and chief executive officer Bobby Koch said: "Our wineries have been able to adjust and remain competitive despite changes in US dollar rates and during strong and weak economic conditions."
John McLaren, the institute's trade director in the UK, added: "In tough trading conditions, California continued to build market share in the UK.
"California has the right combination of developed brands, flexible and responsive producers and a huge diversity of quality varietals to weather the current business climate."
Some 90% of US wine exports are from California.