US wine exports on track for new record

Exports of US wine rose by 6% in value in the first six months of 2013, putting the industry on course for a new record, despite a drop in volumes.

For the six months to the end of June, exports reached US$712 million, 6% higher than in the same period of 2012, the California-based Wine Institute said this week. California accounts for 90% of exports.

“The six-month figures are on track to break export value records for the third-straight year,” the trade body said. In 2012, US wine exports reached $1.4 3billion, having risen by 2.6% on 2011.

Overall export volumes fell for the first half of 2013, by 1.4% to 214.8 million litres. This trend is primarily due to a drop in bulk shipments, while exports of higher-value bottled wines have continued to rise.

A recent report by Rabobank analysts pin-pointed the key growth markets for US bottled wine as Canada, UK, China, South Korea, Mexico, Panama and Malaysia.

Closer to home, an early harvest is on the horizon in California, due to warm weather. Rabobank analysts said: “Early forecasts point to healthy yields in 2013, but not as large as last year’s bumper crop.”

High grape prices in California are reported to have led to an increase in demand for new plantings. Rabobank analysts said: “By several reports, there is still pent-up demand to plant additional vineyards in California that is being held back by two factors: nurseries running short of plant stocks and rising land prices.” 

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