Californian wine exports to Asia remain strong

Californian wine exports to Asia remain strong

Hong Kong's demand for Californian wine fell by about a third last year as a trade boost from an axed 80% import tax slackened off, new figures have shown.

Sales in the region last year dropped by 30% year-on-year, the only decline in Californian wine's top ten export destinations, according to the Wine Institute today (21 February). Hong Kong imported US$115m worth of Californian wine in 2012, keeping it in third spot, the institute said.

In March 2008, Hong Kong's government scrapped import duties on wine, to make the specially administrated region a wine-trading hub. In the first year, wine sales jumped by 37%.

The European Union remained the top destination for Californian wine last year, up by 1.7% year-on-year to $485m, according to the figures. Second-place Canada was up by 14% to $434m.

Despite Hong Kong's decline, Asia remained a strong market for California exports. Japan posted a 6% sales increase to $111m and China up by 18% to $74m. 

“Wine's prominence is growing throughout Asia as consumption remains buoyant and forecasts estimate continued growth,” Wine Institute international marketing director Linsey Gallagher said.

The figures came from the Wine Institute's California Wine Export Program. More than 150 wineries take part in the program.

According to a study released last week, California wine grapes hit a record high price in 2012, up 21% year-on-year.