The international popularity of Californian wines is on the rise. According to the Californian Wine Institute, U.S. wine exports, 90% from California, rebounded to a new record of $1.14 billion in winery revenues in 2010, an increase of 25.6% over 2009 wine exports. Volume shipments meanwhile rose 1.9% to 425.5 million litres or 47.3 million nine-litre cases.
“This positive news indicates that our goal of $2 billion in wine export revenues by 2020 is achievable,” said Robert P. Koch, Wine Institute president and CEO.
“Consumers worldwide are attracted to the state’s renowned cuisine, natural beauty and relaxed lifestyle, and these features go hand in hand with California wine,” said Linsey Gallagher, Wine Institute’s international marketing director. “We recently launched our global Discover California Wines branding campaign with print and multi-media materials that emphasize the California lifestyle.”
“With close to 20% of California’s wine production being sold in other countries, exports represent an important part of our industry’s success. To help drive further growth, we continue to work closely with the U.S. government and the international wine community to remove trade barriers and open new markets,” said Wine Institute’s international trade policy director Tom LaFaille.
European exports up
In total, 38% of U.S. wine exports by value were shipped to the 27 member countries of the European Union, accounting for $435 million of the revenues, up 14% from 2009. Volume shipments to the EU reached 27.6 million cases in 2010, up 11% from the previous year. Changes in the dollar exchange rate, a gradually recovering economy and California’s effective marketing and high wine quality have helped exports rebound. Other top markets were: Canada, $308 million; Hong Kong, $116 million; Japan, $76 million; and China, $45 million.
Reflecting the situation in the Irish market, John McLaren, Wine Institute trade director for the UK noted: “The UK is a tough market at the moment, with the consumer assailed by increases in direct and indirect taxation. Under these difficult circumstances, the significant upturn for California is a remarkable achievement for the industry.”
“While developing wine markets, such as Poland and Russia, continue to do well for us, we have also seen growth in more established markets. For example, California was up 11% in Sweden in the fourth quarter of 2010 and in Holland, our business grew 25 percent in the first six months of 2010, the highest of all other importing wine regions in that country,” added Paul Molleman, Wine Institute’s trade director for Continental Europe.
So, why exactly are Californian wines so popular? According to the California Wine and Winery Guide (www.californiawineinfo.com), California wine has gained world recognition for many fine wines due to the wealth and variety of soil conditions and micro climates that exist within the state. There are presently 107 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) in California. Each is a distinct winegrape growing area recognized by the US government, and is therefore a testament to the variety of microclimates in the state.
In fact, California has 107 of the 188 AVAs established in the US. There are more than 60,000 registered California wine labels, and an impressive 2,843 registered wineries and 4,600 winegrape growers. Were it an independent nation, California would actually be the fourth largest producer of wine in the world.
Paul Masson is one of the great success stories from California in the last number of years. Sales continue to boom here in Ireland with 2011 looking to be a record year. Distinctive by its Carafe shaped bottle the red, white and rosé litres retail at €9.99, and are distributed by Barry & Fitwilliam.
Blossom Hill is the best selling wine brand in Ireland, and is distributed by the Gleeson Group. It is also number one in the American wines category. An impressive nine out of 10 consumers are aware of Blossom Hill. In short it’s a runaway success. It is hugely popular in quarter bottle format and a must stock item for off-licences and pubs. The light, fruity, off-dry style and attractive packaging, which was upgraded last year, are particularly popular with young female customers looking for a ‘no fuss’ wine to enjoy with friends.
Blossom Hill is in its third year of sponsorship of Ladies Day at the Dublin Horseshow. This has been a successful sponsorship for the brand with an integrated sales activity running across key retail channels for the surrounding months. This year the blossom Hill Ladies day at the Horseshow will take place at the RDS on 4 August.
On the home run
Sutter Home White Zinfandel is the original and best White Zinfandel from sunny California, claims the distributor, Findlater Wine & Spirit Group. Produced from red Zinfandel grapes grown in the upper Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys, this is the ultimate in White Zinfandels. Grapes for this bottling were harvested early in the growing season at to maximize the freshness typical of this wine. Delicate blush pink in colour, with sweet strawberry and watermelon aromas. A fresh, lively wine bursting with fruit. Enjoy chilled as an aperitif or with all types of food, especially those with a slight spiciness. Sutter Home has a RRP of €9.99, available from the Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.
A tempting trio
Ménage á Trois refers to the selection of varietals that comprise this more whimsical, approachable trio of wines. Designed for those who like alternatives, who need to push the envelope while thinking outside the box. Ménage á Trois examines what happens when you put three attractive young grape varieties in one bottle.
The exotic, flowery and silky White Blend explores the promising relationship between Moscato, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The Red Blend, with its rich, fruit-forward profile, shows what happens when you introduce Zinfandel to Merlot and Cabernet. This wine was awarded a Commendation at the International Wine Challenge 2010.
And finally, the Rosé Blend carries no pretension and no pretense as a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Gewürztraminer—just a fruit-laden rollercoaster ride. Ménage á Trois is distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group and its RRP is €9.99-€10.99.
A chilled red first
Gallo Family Vineyards Summer Red is the latest addition to the Gallo Family Vineyards portfolio of wines from E & J Gallo Winery. Due to launch in Spring 2011, Summer Red has been specifically created to enjoy chilled, making it the first of its kind in the Irish market. Summer Red will be available for consumers from all good independents nationwide.
2011 will also see the launch of the Gallo Family Vineyards Merlot Rosé. It will be the first Californian Merlot Rosé in the Irish market and a welcome addition to the GFV portfolio of rosé wines that currently includes White Zinfandel and White Grenache.
Other varietals in the Gallo Family Vineyards collection distributed in Ireland by Cassidy Wines include; Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Barefoot makes its mark
Award winning Californian wine, Barefoot is making its mark in Ireland. The philosophy at Barefoot wine is to make delicious, affordable wines that can be enjoyed by everyone, from first-time wine-consumers to long-time connoisseurs. Whether it’s a glass of fruity Pinot Grigio, a taste of full-bodied Zinfandel, or smooth Merlot, Barefoot’s award-winning wines offer something for anyone who wants to kick back and go Barefoot.
Launching in 2011, Barefoot Moscato will be the newest addition to the collection of Barefoot wines. Full of the flavours of juicy peach and ripe apricots, this wine has citrusy hints of lemon and orange that wraps things up with a bright, crisp finish. Barefoot wines are distributed in Ireland by Cassidy Wines and currently stocked by Dunnes Stores and Superquinn.