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California Wine Month Events Make September the Time to Visit Wine Country

August 23, 2018

Harvest Season Events Planned Around the State,
from Gourmet Weekends and Festivals to Concerts

CalWineMonth2018 Poster thumbnail

San Francisco — September is California Wine Month, and there’s no better time to experience the excitement of the state’s annual harvest season. Across California, wineries, regional associations and other organizations are hosting exclusive tastings, festivals, live music, food pairings, grape stomps, vineyard hikes and much more.

Now in its 14th year, California Wine Month celebrates the Golden State’s 250-year winegrowing history and recognizes the achievements of California vintners and growers in preserving tradition and driving innovation. With 4,800 vintners and 5,900 growers within its borders, California is the world’s fourth-largest wine producer and the source of 81 percent of the wine made in the United States. It is also the most visited state in the U.S. for food- and wine-related activities, attracting 24 million people each year, and the producer of more than 400 specialty crops. Wine lovers can also celebrate with activities and special offers from California Wine Month partner retailers and restaurants during the month of September.

Visit our California Wine Month page to view the full list of regularly updated events and partners and to order a copy of the 2018
California Wine Month poster
. Regionwide events showcasing multiple wineries include:

NORTH COAST

Sept. 1: Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center.

Sept. 7-8: Winesong Weekend, various locations throughout Mendocino County.

Sept. 8: Calistoga Wine Experience, Pioneer Park, Calistoga, Napa Valley.

Sept. 15: Lake County Wine Auction, Boatique Winery, Kelseyville.

Sept. 22: Zinfandel: Stories from Napa Valley, Culinary Institute of America at Copia, Napa.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY & SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS

Sept. 2: Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration, Wineries throughout the region.

Sept. 8-9: Annual Capitola Art & Wine Festival, Capitola Village in Santa Cruz County.

Sept. 8-30: Fall Passport Month, Wineries of Santa Clara Valley.

Sept. 22: Eat Drink Los Gatos, Downtown district, North Santa Cruz Ave.

Sept. 29: Livermore Valley Wine Auction, Wente Vineyards.

CENTRAL COAST: MONTEREY TO SANTA BARBARA

Sept. 1: Highway 46 West Wineries Harvest Block Party, Dark Star Cellars in Paso Robles.

Sept. 9: Taste of the Town Santa Barbara, Riviera Park Gardens.

Sept. 28: Sip & Saunter, San Luis Obispo.

INLAND VALLEYS

Sept. 13-16: Lodi Grape Festival, Lodi Event Center.

Sept. 21: Madera Wine Trail's California Wine Month Celebration, Papagni Winery, Madera.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS

Sept. 1-30: Find the Gold in Calaveras Wine Country: A Treasure Hunt, Participating wineries.

Sept. 7-9: Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival, Northstar Resort, Truckee.

Sept. 8: WINEderlust River Wine Festival, Henningsen Lotus Park on the American River, El Dorado County.

Sept. 15: Sample the Sierra Farm-to-Fork Festival, Bijou Community Park, South Lake Tahoe.

Sept. 15: Barbera Festival, Terra d’Oro Wines, Amador County.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Aug. 31-Sept. 2: The Taste, Paramount Pictures Studios, Hollywood.

Sept. 8: VINO-Palooza Wine & Music Festival, Marina Del Rey Hotel, Los Angeles.

Sept. 29: Temecula Valley CRUSH, Monte De Oro Winery, Temecula.

See the complete list of all winery events here.
For more information about exploring California’s diverse wine regions, see the Navigate the State map and directory. Wine lovers can also celebrate California Wine Month at home using these delicious recipes and wine-pairing tips.

CALIFORNIA WINE MONTH PARTNERS

California Wine Month is supported by restaurant, retail, hotel, media and association partners in California and throughout the U.S. including:

U.S. National/Regional: California Pizza Kitchen, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, The Culinary Institute of America, Dickie Brennan & Co. A Family of Restaurants, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, PF Chang’s, Safeway and Tavistock Restaurants.

California: Albertsons, Blackhawk Grille, Café del Rey, California Restaurant Association, Charlie Palmer Steak Napa, Compline, Dean & Deluca, Della Fattoria, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Giordano Brothers, LA County Fair, Wine Bar (Macys), Napa Valley Grille, Pavilions, Rio Grill, San Francisco Wine School, Sky & Vine Rooftop Bar, Taj Campton Place, Tarpys Roadhouse, Visit California, VONS and Women for Winesense.

ABOUT WINE INSTITUTE

Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of more than 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiate and advocate state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. California wineries generate $114 billion annually in economic activity to the U.S. economy and create 786,000 jobs across the country of which 325,000 are in California, bolstering economies through hospitality, taxes and tourism and enhancing communities through environmental sustainability.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Wine Institute Communications Department, 415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org

California Wine Sales in U.S. Market Hit $35.2 Billion in 2017

May 23, 2018

San Francisco — California wine shipments in the U.S. reached an estimated retail value of $35.2 billion in 2017, up 3% from the previous year. The state shipped 241 million nine-liter cases in the U.S. in 2017, up 1%.

California wine sales to all markets, including shipments to the U.S. and exports worldwide, were 278 million cases in 2017.

“Consumers in the U.S. and worldwide continue to trade up to higher-priced premium wines,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO. “The quality, selection and commitment to sustainability make California wines well-positioned for growth.”

“California wine sales in the U.S. market have grown 15% in the past decade from 209 million cases shipped in 2008 to 241 million cases in 2017,” said Jon Moramarco, founder and managing partner of BW166, and editor of the Gomberg-Fredrikson Report. “Last year the growth mainly came from premium wines priced over $10.”

According to Moramarco, demographic trends play a significant role in wine sales. While per capita consumption has been flat over the last decade, wine sales have grown in line with the legal drinking age population, which increased roughly 10 percent over the same time period. Additional trends impacting sales included wineries focusing on tasting room and direct-to-consumer sales, which accounted for nearly $2.7 billion in retail value and 5.8 million cases in 2017. Wineries also found opportunities in independent, local restaurants with wine menus listing limited production wines to appeal to consumers shifting their spending to these smaller eating establishments.

2017 California Wine Stats

“Wine is growing but in a more challenging environment, with rapid and broad retail and consumer changes,” said Danny Brager, Senior Vice President of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area. “Wine selling locations in the U.S. are up 20% from a decade ago to 565,000 off- and on-premise locations, with a wide range of formats such as natural/gourmet grocery stores, no frills/value-based formats, theaters, premium bars and fast/casual on-premise outlets. There is also a diverse range of consumers, from Millennials who have less disposable income than a generation ago to Baby Boomers who are retiring and likely slowing their wine consumption as an increasing number of Americans are entering their golden years. Marketers need to find the right balance in attracting these diverse sets of consumers. E-commerce is increasingly having an impact on expanding consumer access to wine, and wineries are working on several digital platforms where wine is being sold,” he explained.

According to Nielsen-measured U.S. off-premise sales, top-selling varietals by volume are: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blends, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Moscato/Muscat, Rosé and White Zinfandel/Blush. Rosé continues to be a phenomenal growth story, with sales volume jumping 60% compared to the previous year.

Total shipments of sparkling wine and champagne to the U.S. reached 26.3 million cases in 2017. Up 8% from the previous year, sparkling wines/champagnes accounted for a 7% share of the U.S. wine market.

The U.S. Wine Market
Wine shipments to the U.S. from all production sources — California, other states and foreign producers — grew 1% to 403.4 million cases in 2017, with an estimated retail value of $62.2 billion, up 2% from the previous year. The U.S. has remained the world’s largest wine market by volume since 2010. California’s 241 million cases shipped within the U.S. in 2017 represent a 60% share of the U.S. wine market.

U.S. Wine Exports
U.S. wine exports, more than 90% from California, reached $1.53 billion in winery revenues in 2017. Volume shipments were 380 million liters or 42.2 million cases. The European Union’s 28-member countries were the top market for U.S. wine exports, accounting for $553 million; followed by Canada, $444 million; Hong Kong, $119 million; Japan, $94 million; China, $79 million; South Korea, $25 million; Mexico, $23 million; Singapore, $17 million; and Philippines, $14 million.

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CALIFORNIA WINE SHIPMENTS1
(In millions of 9-liter cases)
Year California Wine Shipments to All Markets in the U.S. and Abroad2 California Wine Shipments to the U.S. Market2 Estimated Retail Value of CA Wine to U.S.3
2017 277.9 240.7 $35.2 billion
2016 279.7 239.1 $34.3 billion
2015 278.2 233.7 $32.6 billion
2014 273.0 229.7 $31.3 billion
2013 263.8 221.2 $29.7 billion
2012 250.4 210.8 $29.0 billion
2011 265.5 224.3 $28.5 billion
2010 246.1 206.3 $28.5 billion
2009 253.2 213.8 $27.6 billion
2008 255.3 208.8 $26.1 billion
2007 241.2 198.3 $24.8 billion
2006 235.8 196.9 $24.4 billion
2005 231.6 194.1 $23.0 billion
2004 226.3 182.4 $22.2 billion
2003 211.9 177.0 $20.8 billion
2002 195.4 168.3 $21.5 billion

Sources: Wine Institute, BW166/Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates and U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Preliminary. History revised.

1Includes table, champagne/sparkling, dessert, vermouth, other special natural, sake and others. Excludes cider.
2Excludes bulk imports bottled in U.S.
3Estimated retail value includes markups by wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs.

 

WINE SALES IN THE U.S
(Wine shipments in millions of 9-liter cases from
California, other states and foreign producers entering U.S. distribution)
Year Table Wine1 Dessert Wine2 Sparkling Wine/
Champagne
Total Wine Total Retail Value3
2017 336.3 40.8 26.3 403.4 $62.2 billion
2016 333.2 41.2 24.4 398.8 $61.1 billion
2015 325.6 40.2 21.7 387.5 $57.4 billion
2014 323.7 34.6 20.6 378.8 $55.5 billion
2013 327.0 31.6 18.9 377.5 $52.3 billion
2012 319.5 30.3 17.9 367.7 $50.8 billion
2011 308.1 31.4 17.5 357.0 $48.6 billion
2010 290.8 28.9 15.4 335.0 $46.5 billion
2009 282.4 27.2 14.0 323.5 $45.2 billion
2008 272.2 27.7 13.6 313.5 $45.0 billion
2007 272.5 26.7 13.9 313.0 $43.5 billion
2006 258.8 24.3 13.6 296.7 $41.5 billion
2005 255.4 22.5 13.1 290.9 $38.5 billion
2004 245.3 20.3 13.2 278.8 $36.2 billion
2003 237.0 17.6 12.0 266.6 $34.0 billion
2002 222.5 15.9 11.5 250.0 $33.0 billion

Sources: Wine Institute, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, and Estimates by BW166/Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates. Preliminary. History revised. Excludes exports. Excludes cider as of 2011 going forward. Totals may not add up exactly due to rounding.

1Includes all still wines not over 14 percent alcohol, including bulk imports bottled in the U.S.
2Includes all still wines over 14 percent alcohol and sake, including bulk imports bottled in the U.S.
3Estimated retail value includes markups by wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs. Includes on- and off-premise expenditures.

Winners Announced for Fourth Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards

March 29, 2018

Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards logo

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Green Medal winners have been announced for the fourth annual Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. The California Green Medal recognizes the leadership of wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability and is presented by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and Vineyard Team. Four Green Medals are presented in the following categories: Leader, Environment, Community and Business. The recipients of the Green Medal Awards will be honored at a ceremony at the California State Capitol in Sacramento on April 11, 2018.

Winners of the 2018 Green Medals are:

Green Medal Leader

LEADER AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that excels in the three “E’s” of sustainability — Environmentally sound, socially Equitable and Economically viable practices.
Winner: Bogle Vineyards, located in Clarksburg, CA, embodies leadership in sustainability. For the past three generations, sustainability has been at its core, and they demonstrate their commitment to sustainability by certifying 1,200 acres of estate vineyards to LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing and certifying their winery to Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing. Since 2010, Bogle has encouraged its partner-growers to practice sustainability by paying a total of $2.8 million in bonuses for certifying vineyards to LODI RULES, with over 92% of their grapes coming from certified vineyards. Employees are treated like family, with a dozen employees having spent 20-plus years at the company, and the average employee has been there for more than a decade. Good work relations are fostered through quarterly staff luncheons that feature presentations on the latest sustainability practices and other teambuilding exercises.

Green Medal Leader

ENVIRONMENT AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Environmental Stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.
Winner: St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery, based in Rutherford in Napa Valley, is a 100% estate grown, sustainably farmed vineyard and winery. Driven by their commitment to environmental stewardship, they have preserved two-thirds of their acreage to promote biodiversity and protect the land for future generations. In the past three years, the winery has reduced their water use by 50% by capturing rainwater and reusing winery water for irrigation, and solar panels cover 80% of their electricity needs. St. Supéry’s Green Team educates employees on green practices and upholds a strict purchasing policy of using materials that are at least 50% post-consumer waste. The company offers incentives for carpooling to work, with 65% of employees participating.

Green Medal Leader

COMMUNITY AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that is a Good Neighbor & Employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities.
Winner: KG Vineyard Management, based in Lodi, CA, is a custom farm management business committed to sustainable farming. Having vineyards certified to LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing for the last 12 years, the company believes in maintaining and contributing to the legacy of healthy soil, air, water and the local community. KG is active in the area's leadership roles and strives to fulfill a vision of success for Lodi and the surrounding community. They invest in the future--the future of the land, human resources, local youth and family. KG is a leader in fostering strong relationships with clients, employees and neighbors. KG’s employees are their biggest asset and safety training is implemented monthly and they provide training in Urdu, native to Pakistan and India, the primary language between the foremen and crews.

Green Medal Leader

BUSINESS AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.
Winner: Cakebread Cellars, located in Napa, CA, has been committed to sustainability since its inception in 1973. Cakebread believes that sustainability means investing in its employees to help them achieve their career objectives and enjoy healthy work/life balance. That’s why they offer a generous vacation policy and host an ongoing “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise” education series featuring outside speakers to share expertise on all elements of a healthy lifestyle. Cakebread invests in the longevity of its employees by tightly controlling operation costs and eliminating waste wherever possible. In fact, they diverted 92% of their total annual waste in the past two years. It’s not just the big initiatives or investments that define Cakebread — it’s the day-to-day details and decisions that have helped save costs and create a culture of conservation.

“The Green Medal recognizes the commitment and dedication to sustainability by California growers and vintners,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director. “It’s always a challenge selecting four winners from the many amazing applications received from vineyards and wineries of all sizes from throughout California. The judging panel was impressed by the breadth and depth of sustainable practices being used to conserve water and energy, maintain healthy soil, protect air and water quality, preserve wildlife habitat, and enhance relations with employees and communities, all while improving the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries.”

A panel of wine and sustainability experts judged the applications for the fourth annual California Green Medal. They include Dr. Stephanie Bolton, Sustainable Winegrowing Director, Lodi Winegrape Commission; David Glancy, Master Sommelier, San Francisco Wine School; Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Kelli McCune, Senior Manager, Sustainable Conservation; Michelle Novi, Industry Relations Manager, Napa Valley Vintners; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly; Kate Piontek, Vice President of Operations, Sonoma County Winegrowers; and Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certified® Manager, Vineyard Team.

Award sponsors are — Exclusive Media Sponsor: Wine Business Monthly; Gold Sponsor: Rivercap; Silver Sponsors: Protected Harvest, Farm Credit Alliance and Marin Clean Energy; and, Bronze Sponsors: CC Wine Caves and WM EarthCare.

Partnering organizations include: Fish Friendly Farming, Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association, Napa County Resource Conservation District, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association, Santa Barbara Vintners, Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance.

Visit the Green Medal Awards website for more information.

Celebrate “Down To Earth Month” in April with California Wine Events

March 27, 2018

California Sustainable Winegrowing Video New video on California Sustainable Winegrowing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yx_LWnBp4Q  
https://californiawine.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/D2E.Logo_.2018_225x225-1.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO — April is the time to celebrate all things green during the seventh annual California Wines Down to Earth Month. Created by Wine Institute, the association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses, the month celebrates the wine community’s commitment to the environment with sustainability-focused winery events and offers throughout the state.

Down to Earth Month engages consumers, policy leaders, media and the wine trade with eco-friendly events, such as Earth Day festivals, vineyard hikes, food & wine festivals, eco-tours and more.

“Down to Earth Month events are one of the many ways our wineries provide experiences for visitors to learn why California leads in sustainable winegrowing,” says Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. “This year’s celebration also marks the first time that some of our wine will bear the new California Certified Sustainable logo when made in a certified winery with at least 85% of the grapes from certified vineyards.”

California is a global leader in sustainable winegrowing practices in terms of wine acreage and case production. As of November 2017, 127 wineries producing over 74% (211 million cases) of California’s total wine production and 1099 vineyards farming 134,000 acres (22% of statewide wine acreage) are CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE.

Nearly two dozen events are happening throughout California in April with new ones being added daily here. Region-wide events include:

Signature Sonoma Valley, April 6-8, Sonoma: Experience an intimate and exclusive deep dive into the wines, terroir and people of Sonoma Valley’s historic wine region. Enjoy vineyard explorations, iconic wine tastings, designer meals and vintner talks in Sonoma Valley, part of Sonoma County, a region committed to 100% sustainability by the year 2019.

Taste of Mendocino, April 7, San Francisco: More than 30 Mendocino wineries will be bringing their best wines, and local artisanal food producers will be serving up delicious bites to complement the wines at Fort Mason in San Francisco. A gourmet marketplace, Taste of Mendocino attendees will be able to purchase products from participating wineries and food producers. Mendocino County has a high enrollment of green certifications for sustainable, organic, biodynamic and Fish Friendly farming.

April Passport Celebration Day, April 21, Santa Cruz: The winegrowing community of the Santa Cruz Mountains will come together on Passport Celebration Day to celebrate the generations of farmers, vintners and families that are the roots of this wine region. Fifty-plus tasting rooms throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains are each offering a unique winery experience, including organic and sustainable wines.

36th Annual Santa Barbara Vintners Festival, April 21, Lompoc: Taste wines from over 100 wineries and gourmet food from 30 regional restaurants. Enjoy live music and live cooking demonstrations. Many growers use sustainable practices, allowing the natural quality of the grapes to flourish. Enjoy the rare opportunity to taste an exceptional number of wines in Santa Barbara County.

50th Anniversary of the Agricultural Preserve, April 21, Rutherford: In 1968, Napa Valley Vintners and others in the community preserved open space by enacting the nation’s first Agriculture Preserve. The 2018 year marks the 50th anniversary of this ordinance establishing agriculture and open space as the best use of land for Napa County. To honor this milestone, Alpha Omega’s winemaker Jean Hoefliger will lead a tour and tasting on April 21 at historic Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard in Rutherford, where 181 acres were placed under a land conservation easement that forever prohibits non-agriculture development. The Alpha Omega Foundation will donate 100 percent of tickets sold to local nonprofits.

27th Annual El Dorado Wine Region Passport Wine Adventure, April 21-29, Placerville: Take a beautiful drive to El Dorado Wine Region in the Sierra Foothills for exclusive hospitality at 22 wineries participating in the Annual Passport Weekends, April 21-22 & 28-29. Sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices are reflected in the wines such as those from Lava Cap Winery and Shadow Ranch Vineyard.

Earth Day Napa, April 22, Napa: Featuring exhibits, food, live entertainment, kids' activities and wine at Oxbow Commons. Presented by Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County.

Stags Leap District Wineries: Vineyard to Vintner, April 27-29, Yountville: Visit winery open houses with special access to owners and winemakers. Enjoy caves, cellars, barrel tastings, dinners by celebrated chefs. Committed to its community, the association is donating 5 percent of open house tickets to the Napa Valley Community Foundation.

Passport to Dry Creek Valley, April 27-29, Healdsburg: One of Sonoma Wine Country’s premier wine & food festivals featuring 40-plus wineries. Tastings, food and wine pairings, and a vineyard tour highlighting how sustainability operates in the vineyards.

California Sustainable Winegrowing
The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers more than a decade ago, received the governor’s top environmental award for increasing adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices in California and for initiating new educational tools and program improvements. CSWA now has 2,100 vineyards and wineries as program participants. To learn more, visit: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/sustainable-winegrowing.

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Wineries and vineyards around the state have taken an extra step by earning Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing status through the third-party certification program launched by CSWA. Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and other statewide and regional programs such as Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) play vital roles in the California wine community’s successful efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially responsible.


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MEDIA CONTACT:
Wine Institute Communications Dept.
415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org

U.S. Wine Exports Total $1.53 Billion in 2017

March 26, 2018

Premiumization Continues Amid
Challenging Exchange Rates


Toronto Wine Fair 2017
The popular California Wine Fair in Toronto was attended by more than 1,000 trade and media.

SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. wine exports, 97% from California, reached $1.53 billion in winery revenues and 380 million liters (42.2 million cases) in 2017. Golden State exports were down 5.5% in value and 7.9% in volume due in part to the strong dollar, heavily-subsidized foreign wine producers and competitors forging free trade agreements in key markets.

“Global premiumization continues and California wines are well-positioned with our range of offerings, aspirational lifestyle, well-earned reputation for high quality and leadership in sustainable winegrowing,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.

“California wine exports have grown nearly 70% by value in the past decade. Our global marketing efforts focusing on the quality and diversity of California wine continue to gain traction with our trading partners throughout the world,” said Wine Institute Vice President of International Marketing Linsey Gallagher. Gallagher oversees Wine Institute’s California Wine Export Program, involving more than 175 wineries that export to 138 countries, and 15 representative offices conducting programs in 25 countries across the globe.

The top 10 export markets for California wines are: the European Union’s 28-member countries, accounting for $553 million, Canada, $444 million; Hong Kong, $119 million; Japan, $94 million; China, $79 million; South Korea, $25 million; Mexico, $23 million; Singapore, $17 million; Philippines, $14 million; and Dominican Republic, $13 million.

“Free trade agreements that place the U.S. on equal footing with other wine producing countries are absolutely essential to growing U.S. wine exports,” said Charles Jefferson, Wine Institute Vice President of Federal Relations and International Public Policy.

Wine Institute’s Regional Trade Directors in key export markets reported on 2017 exports:

Canada
“Despite a flat wine market in Canada and ongoing exchange rate challenges, Canada remains the top dollar value market for California wines. Canadian consumers have confidence in the quality and value offered by California wineries whose wines are successful in all price segments,” according to Rick Slomka, Wine Institute Trade Director for Canada. “Although recent price increases may lead to slower growth, new product introductions and line extensions for popular brands have kept the momentum strong for the California wine category. U.S. wines were the number one table wine category by value in Canada in 2017 for the fourth consecutive year with almost Canadian $1.1 billion in retail sales. “We anticipate continued growth in the liquor board stores and are also looking forward to working with the provincial governments to improve and equalize access to new grocery distribution channels.”

Continental Europe
“As the Euro became stronger in the past 12 months, California wine exports to continental Europe improved. In Germany for instance, our key market on the continent, German customs reported an increase in California wine imports of 7% by volume. The data also shows increases in export value to key markets such as Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark,” said Paul Molleman, Wine Institute Trade Director for Continental Europe.

United Kingdom
“Sales of premium, super-premium and luxury Californian wines continue to be robust despite very challenging currency-led price increases. In 2016, the pound was valued at $1.46. A year later it dropped 17% to $1.21. Price increases were largely passed through to consumers as increased shelf prices. The pound has strengthened in the past six months, and we expect this will be positive for California wines in the first half of 2018 as importers look to replenish stocks at more favorable prices,” said Wine Institute United Kingdom Trade Director Justin Knock, MW.

Japan
“Due to the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, all of the U.S.’s wine region competitors will enter Japan duty free by 2019 while the full 15% import duty will continue to be charged on California wines. Japanese importers have been importing U.S. bulk wine to reduce the import duties, but Chilean and Australian bulk wine is already duty free and European bulk will soon have duty free status. Bottled U.S. wine exports to Japan decreased 20% by volume in 2017, but value increased 12.1%. Ultra-premium wines are less susceptible to the import duty disadvantage, and Wine Institute’s Japan office has been consistently promoting the premium category with its wine-by-the-glass restaurant promotions,” said Ken-ichi Hori, Wine Institute’s Japan Trade Director. “U.S. wine importers in Japan hope the U.S. will establish a Free Trade Agreement with Japan as soon as possible to abolish the heavy import duty disadvantage of U.S. wines, which will help the entire American wine category grow in Japan.”

China & Pacific Rim
“U.S. wine exports to Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) were strong with 10% growth to over $210 million in 2017. Also experiencing growth were South Korea, Singapore and the Philippines with value increasing more than volume, signaling the premiumization trend. For Asia, the main story is the economic growth in China, the largest country in the world in terms of population. China has a rapidly growing middle class that is traveling outside the country and adopting many Western tastes and lifestyle preferences. Consumption of imported wine has increased 2.5 times in the last five years on the Chinese Mainland. We expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future,” said Christopher Beros, Wine Institute Trade Director for China and Pacific Rim.

Since 1985, Wine Institute has served as the administrator of the Market Access Program, a cost-share export promotion program managed by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Wine Institute’s Export Program supports California Wines worldwide with a consumer website discovercaliforniawines.com in eight languages, social media campaigns in 18 countries, educational tools and videos, and a strong partnership with Visit California to increase tourism to California wine regions. Wine Institute organizes California’s participation in international trade shows and trade missions, offers master classes and seminars as well as tastings for trade, media and consumers worldwide. Last year, the program also hosted 155 international media and wine buyers from 20 countries for visits to California wine country. For information, see: Wine Institute’s California Wine Export Program

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Journalists requiring further information should contact the Wine Institute Communications Dept.


U.S. WINE EXPORTS*
Year to Date: January-December
2017 and 2016

 

Value (U.S. Dollars)
Revenues to Wineries

Variance
’17 v ‘16

Volume (Liters)

Variance
’17 v ‘16

PARTNER COUNTRY
Ranked by 2017 Value

2017

2016

Percent

2017

2016

Percent

 

European Union Total**

$553,098,853

$685,230,481

-19.28

197,782,763

221,141,004

- 10.56

Canada

$443,865,878

$431,402,689

2.89

83,983,119

88,793,202

- 5.42

Hong Kong

$118,803,938

$98,532,044

20.57

9,364,978

12,428,906

- 24.65

Japan

$94,103,357

$87,488,237

7.56

23,341,643

23,613,126

- 1.15

China

$78,667,031

$81,480,265

- 3.45

14,190,217

14,861,019

- 4.51

South Korea

$25,454,842

$23,337,670

9.07

4,898,207

4,261,903

14.93

Mexico

$22,543,709

$24,059,600

- 6.30

7,138,570

7,825,030

- 8.77

Singapore

$16,579,152

$13,635,128

21.59

2,274,968

2,237,766

1.66

Philippines

$13,544,471

$13,202,614

2.59

4,784,109

4,317,825

10.80

Dominican Republic

$13,230,785

$13,031,174

1.53

3,199,157

3,156,701

1.34

Taiwan

$13,054,883

$12,167,856

7.29

1,456,869

1,645,785

- 11.48

OTHER COUNTRIES

$137,320,004

$135,946,628

1.17

$27,631,318

$28,306,756

- 2.39

 

WORLD TOTAL

$1,530,266,903

$1,619,514,386

- 5.51

380,045,918

412,589,023

- 7.89

Source: Wine Institute & Global Trade Information Services, using data from U.S. Dept. of Commerce. Preliminary numbers.
Includes hard cider. History revised.
*Statistics exclude re-exported wine due to U.S. DOC changing its reporting to exclude this wine.

**Stats for the 28 EU countries are combined because transshipments to final destinations in neighboring countries make a country-by-country breakdown not reflective of actual consumption in each country.
To convert liters to gallons, multiply liters by .26418 To convert liters to cases, divide liters by 9

US Wine Exports in Millions of Dollars

Source: Wine Institute & Global Trade Information Services, using U.S. Dept. of Commerce data.

U.S. WINE EXPORTS 1997-2017

Year

Volume
(In millions)

Value
(In millions of dollars)

 

Gallons

Liters

Cases

Revenues to Wineries

2017

100.4

380.0

42.2

$1,530

2016

109.0

412.6

45.8

$1,620

2015

121.9

461.3

51.3

$1,603

2014

117.0

442.7

49.2

$1,494

2013

115.1

435.8

48.4

$1,553

2012

106.9

404.8

45.0

$1,336

2011

111.4

421.6

46.8

$1,297

2010

107.6

407.3

45.3

$1,064

2009

106.4

402.8

44.8

$859

2008

125.5

474.9

52.8

$963

2007

115.9

438.8

48.8

$911

2006

105.1

397.9

44.2

$843

2005

101.5

384.1

42.7

$659

 2004

119.1

451.0

50.1

$796

 2003

92.3

349.2

38.8

$621

2002

73.4

277.8

30.9

$542

2001

78.8

298.3

33.1

$531

2000

77.8

294.4

32.7

$551

1999

74.2

281.0

31.2

$541

1998

71.1

269.1

29.9

$532

1997

58.7

222.1

24.7

$415

Source: Wine Institute & Global Trade Information Services, using data from U.S. Dept. of Commerce. History revised.

California Wine 2017 Harvest Report: Strong Quality Across the State as Ample Rain Ends Drought

November 8, 2017

Left: White grape harvest (Napa Valley Vintners photo); J Vineyards & Winery harvest in Sonoma County (George Rose photo).

SAN FRANCISCO — California’s 2017 wine harvest wrapped up early this fall following summer heat spurts and a growing season that saw significant rain throughout the state ending a five-year drought. While October wildfires in North Coast wine communities made international headlines, the state’s vineyards and wineries were not significantly affected. Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, the regions most impacted, grow 12 percent of California’s winegrapes, and 90% percent of the harvest in Napa and Sonoma and 85% in Mendocino were already picked and in production at wineries before the fires.

“The vast majority of California’s 2017 winegrape harvest was unaffected by the wildfires and the vintage promises to be of excellent quality,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of Wine. “The outpouring of support locally and from around the world for people in the impacted communities has been phenomenal. We are saddened by the loss of lives and homes and this will truly be remembered as a harvest of the heart. Wineries are at work making their 2017 wines and welcoming visitors during this beautiful late fall/early winter season.”

The Growing Season
With all but late harvest grapes in, vintners are looking back at the 2017 growing season throughout the state. The drought is over with the season beginning with rainfall that refilled reservoirs and replenished soils. Harvest began early at a normal pace in many regions, and then progressed rapidly during a heat wave in late August and early September. Temperatures cooled mid-September, slowing the harvest pace and allowing red grapes to ripen gradually. Many regions are reporting reduced yields due to the heat spell, but vintners are reporting strong quality for the 2017 vintage.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture estimated in early August that the state’s overall crop size would reach 4 million tons, down slightly from 4.03 million in 2016 and above the historical average of 3.9 million tons. The heat wave will likely lower this prediction.

“We had above average rainfall this winter on the Central Coast, but not as much as areas that saw flooding,” said Steve Lohr, CEO, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. “It was wonderful because it helped fill up the reservoirs and bring new life to cover crops that had been parched after several years of drought. It has been a good year for us, all in all, on the Central Coast,” Lohr said. “From the 30,000-foot perspective, I would say that these wines are going to show particularly nicely in their youth but will have the capacity to age.”

According to Neil Bernardi, vice president of winemaking at Duckhorn Wine Co., the increased rainfall also brought vine-vigor challenges. “It required special focus on cover crops and tillage and closely managing canopies. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Napa Valley and Alexander Valley look especially healthy,” he said. “Our Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Merlot have excellent color, extraction and flavor, and Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are showing excellent aromatics and great acidity.”

The rainfall helped vines in the Santa Cruz Mountains rebound from the drought, but also caused some problems during flowering. “Zinfandel got caught by spring rain during bloom and most of our Zinfandel sites are down in tonnage anywhere from 15% to 40%,” said Eric Baugher, chief operating officer and winemaker, Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Winery. “It does appear that the Zinfandel vintage will be an extraordinary one, similar to 1999. I expect similar excellent quality out of Chardonnay since the fruit had such great intensity of flavor from the petite-size clusters and berries.”

A heat spell impacted many California regions in late summer, speeding up harvest schedules and requiring extra vigilance. “Some vineyards that had exposed fruit showed desiccation,” said David Hayman, vice president of winegrowing for Delicato Family Vineyards, which farms grapes across the state. “Ripeness was accelerated and a lot of fruit became ready all at once. Flavors across the board look good.”

Harvest Report Cover

Click here to view full report, including regional reports from Amador/Sierra Foothills, Lake County, Livermore Valley, Lodi, Madera, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa Valley, Paso Robles, San Diego County, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma County and Temecula Valley.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Wine Institute
communications@wineinstitute.org

New Wine Institute Video Series Celebrates “California Wines: Behind the Glass”

September 7, 2017

California Wines Behind the Glass Video Series Still View the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHnENDwN2LE&list=PLd4vf2_4_2gvPg7WxbzkSN8_B_CpWgXsp

SAN FRANCISCO — Vineyard rocks absorb water like a sponge; a novice wine drinker’s eyes widen as she tastes the difference between two California Chardonnays guided by a pair of sommeliers; a winemaker describes wine as the elixir that brings people together. Wine Institute’s new video series, “California Wines: Behind the Glass,” conveys the appeal of the regions, climates, grapes and people that come together to make California wine. The short films are set with backdrops of the Golden State’s iconic and aspirational landscapes.

California Wine Month,” the first in the 23-part video series, debuted Sept. 6 on Instagram before rolling out across social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and going live on www.DiscoverCaliforniaWines.com A new video will be posted every week with the final video, “Road Trip,” wrapping up the series on Feb. 7, 2018. The videos travel the length of California’s 800 miles of coastline, climb the mountains to consider fog and microclimates, capture sustainable winegrowing practices in action and reflect on California’s winemaking culture with its tradition of experimentation and innovation.

California produces 85 percent of U.S. wine and is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,700 wineries. The California industry generates 786,000 jobs in the U.S. and attracts 24 million tourist visits to the state’s wine regions each year.

Instagram: california.wines
Twitter: CalifWines_US
Facebook: CaliforniaWines
YouTube: California Wine Institute
Website: www.DiscoverCaliforniaWines.com

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MEDIA CONTACT:
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Celebrate California Wine Month in September

August 21, 2017

Raise a Glass to Harvest at More Than 50 Winery Events Around the State

image name
Order this year's California Wine Month poster, highlighting facts at a glance.

SAN FRANCISCO — September marks the 13th annual California Wine Month, and it’s the perfect time to experience the annual harvest season. Wine enthusiasts can enjoy special tastings, festivals, concerts, wine and food offerings and more at wineries and other venues throughout the state.

Vines have been grown in California for nearly 250 years, and the state is the fourth largest producer of wine in the world. California Wine Month was created to honor the culture of tradition and innovation built by the state’s 4,700 vintners and 5,900 growers and to recognize wine’s many contributions to the state and nation. 

California is the most visited state in the U.S. for food and wine-related activities, with 24 million visits to the state’s wine regions each year. California wineries offer a vast array of activities and amenities such as music, art, theater and gardens as well as hands-on visitor experiences.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com/californiawinemonth to view a full list of events by date and get a copy of this year’s “2017 California Wine Month Facts at a Glance” poster. Or, download a map of California wine regions and the 138 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) here. Event highlights include:

North Coast
Celebrate Sept. 1-3 with Sonoma Wine Country Weekend at Sonoma State University where top winemakers, growers and chefs will come together to celebrate the region’s finest wine and food. Stay in Sonoma for the Sonoma Valley Crush which offers hands-on harvest experiences at 12 boutique wineries Sept. 8-10.

Winesong, now in its 33rd year on Sept. 8-9, invites attendees to stroll through the lush Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens while enjoying vintages poured by wineries from Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, and beyond. The wine and food tasting is accented by various musical groups performing jazz, classical, blues and more.

Voted on as one of the top 10 wine destinations in the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, the Calistoga Wine Experience on Sept. 9 in Napa Valley features wines from more than 35 Calistoga wineries and a chance to meet the owners and winemakers, enjoy appetizers and live jazz at a spectacular harvest setting.

The Lake County Wine Auction Sept. 16 is a gala evening under the stars at Cache Creek Vineyard and Winery. The evening begins with a tasting of food from a selection of 10 juried purveyors paired with local wines. Guests enjoy a gourmet meal in the farm-to-table spirit as the sun sets, followed by the live auction and dancing, all to benefit the arts and health and community organizations

San Francisco Bay & Santa Cruz Mountains
On Sept. 3 of Labor Day Weekend, wineries celebrate the exciting crush season at the Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration. Wine lovers have enjoyed this unique event the last 35 years. Later in the month on Sept. 23, Livermore hosts a live auction with prizes ranging from wine to vacations to private dinners and more. The event will benefit underserved children in the East Bay with nutrition, healthcare and education.

Also on Sept. 23, the annual Eat Drink Los Gatos features restaurant food booths, live music, and shopping in charming downtown Los Gatos. Sip tastings from dozens of local wineries while touring through downtown Los Gatos enjoying wine and food at local shops and restaurants.

Central Coast: Monterey to Santa Barbara
As the sun sets Sept. 2, the Highway 46 West Harvest Block Party will take place at Dark Star Cellars. This mini wine festival is one of the more popular events on the Central Coast.

Enjoy an afternoon at Santa Barbara’s Taste of the Town featuring area wineries and more for the ultimate epicurean adventure in Santa Barbara. The event, which benefits the Arthritis Foundation, will take place on Sept. 10 at Riviera Gardens. Later in the month on Sept. 29, kick off four days of wine and culinary experiences at The Taste of Santa Barbara Wine Country. Attendees can expect to enjoy library wines, fall releases and small bites from local restaurants.

Whether you have a grand car to show or just want to stroll through the gold course enjoying the views or tasting the best of Central Coast wines, the Automotive Concourse at Monarch Dunes, on Sept. 24, offers something for everyone. Admission for spectators is free.

Inland Valleys
The 80th Annual Lodi Grape Festival celebrates Lodi agriculture while raising funds for community and charitable projects. The event is on Sept. 14-17 and will feature live music, activities for families and kids and a Friday wine tasting with Lodi wines.

On Sept. 15, guests 21+ are invited to celebrate Madera Wine Trail’s California Wine Month Celebration. This event will offer wine tasting from local wineries, food by a variety of local restaurants and live music. The Madera Vintners Association will also honor and award partners and associates that have influenced the local wine industry, the MVA and its winery members.

Sierra Foothills
Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival takes place the weekend of Sept. 8. Enjoy three full days of cooking seminars and demonstrations, culinary competitions, wine tastings, a Farm-to-Tahoe dinner, live music, a gourmet marketplace, and more. This is an incredible opportunity to sample the culinary and winemaking talents of regional chefs.

In South Lake Tahoe, Sample the Sierra is a unique farm-to-fork festival held on Sept. 16. The festival offers the chance to taste the creations of local Sierra Nevada talent – from food, wine and spirits to fresh produce and art. The event’s Sierra Chefs Challenge features local chefs competing for the coveted Sierra Chef title.

Southern California
At the Los Angeles TimesThe Taste, wine and food are the stars Sept. 1-3. Celebrate Southern California’s vibrant culinary scene at Paramount Pictures Studios iconic backlot, presenting five events with leading chefs and restaurants in L.A. and tastings. Guests can learn more about wine and food during special seminars and live demos.

On Sept 10, enjoy complimentary tastings from more than 25 wineries at VINO-Palooza — a wine & music festival at The Marina Del Rey Hotel, LA.

Celebrate California Wine Month Temecula style at CRUSH, a Wine & Culinary Showcase on Sept. 30. This harvest festival features 100-plus wines from more than 30 Temecula Valley wineries, paired with food from local restaurants and farms and live music. Wine lovers can purchase a SIP, Temecula Style passport, which offers savings at up to five of the 19 participating wineries any weekday during the month of September.

California Wine Month Partners
California Wine Month is supported by restaurant, retail, hotel, media and association partners in California and throughout the U.S. including:

National/Regional: California Pizza Kitchen, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, PF Chang’s, Safeway and Tavistock Restaurants

California: 1313 Main, Albertsons, Bistro Boudin, California Restaurant Association, Compline, Dean & Deluca, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Giordano Brothers, Napa Valley Wine Train, Pavilions, San Francisco Wine School, Visit California and Vons

New York/New Jersey: Astor Wine & Spirits, BevMax, Bottle King, Chambers Street Wines, Fairway Market, Flatiron Wine & Spirits, Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Shop Rite, Verve, Wine Awesomeness

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines  and winery amenities to plan a trip to California wine country. Established in  1934, Wine Institute is the association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and  wine-related businesses with the mission to initiate and advocate state,  federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the  responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. See: wineinstitute.org.

# # #

MEDIA CONTACT:
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communications@wineinstitute.org

California Wineries Offer Top Wine and Food Experiences Year-Round

June 28, 2017

Wine Lovers Can Sip and Savor
at Winery Restaurants, Too

Left Ram's Gate Winery Right Cima Collina Winery

Farm-to-table wine and food experiences abound at California wineries. (Left) Culinary pairings at Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma County. (Right) A wine and food tasting experience at Cima Collina Winery in Carmel Valley, Monterey County.

SAN FRANCISCO – Whether a beginner or experienced wine taster, kick your California wine country experience up a notch by pairing regional wines with farm-to-fork tastes and meals.  For those who want the inside scoop on the ultimate wine and food experiences in California, Wine Institute created a list of wineries offering delicious pairings and restaurant menus year-round.

Here’s a sampling from around the state.  Discover more about winery amenities, recipes and all things California wines at discovercaliforniawines.com.

Great Wine and Food Pairing Experiences

NORTH COAST

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens, Sonoma County
The “Wine & Food Pairings” program includes three options.  Enjoy limited-production wines paired with cheese or chocolate, or taste through five original courses designed by Kendall-Jackson Executive Chef Justin Wangler.  Taste seasonally-changing dishes such as Sunchoke Soup with Liberty duck confit, dried cherries, mushroom and a sunchoke chip.

Ram’s Gate Winery, Sonoma County
The “Palate Play Wine & Food Pairing” lets you taste artfully crafted pairings to bring out the best in Ram’s Gate wines.  The experience begins with a glass of wine in hand for an in-depth winery tour before relaxing in a private room.  There, compare four single-vineyard wines alongside their culinary pairings in a guided, seated tasting.

B Cellars, Napa Valley
The “Oakville Trek” offers a taste of wine accompanied by a food pairing, followed by a personally escorted tour of the culinary gardens, production facilities and extensive wine caves, glass-in-hand.  After the tour, partake in a custom “B-Bite,” carefully selected and created by the chef to complement a selection of current release wines.

HALL, Napa Valley
Each month, check out “A Taste of HALL,” a culinary workshop featuring an all-star line-up of Napa Valley chefs paired with a seasonal theme.  This lively, family-style workshop teaches modern pairing techniques while tasting new release wines.

Long Meadow Ranch, Napa Valley
An elegant, intimate guided experience, “Chef’s Table” is a multi-course lunch or dinner paired with Long Meadow Ranch wines in the historic Logan Ives House. The estate chef brings the best of the season from their farm-to-guest plates, showcasing organic produce, grass-fed beef and lamb, and olive oils to complement a selection of wines.

Pine Ridge Vineyards, Napa Valley
The “Savor Pine Ridge Wine & Food Pairing” offers a tailor-made experience nestled in the wine cave, surrounded by candlelight and oak barrels. Wine educators guide you through a tasting of five Estate Cabernet Sauvignons, each paired with small bites prepared by Estate Chef Susan Lassalette. The featured wines hail from the winery’s five estate-owned vineyards in the Napa Valley – Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Oakville, Howell Mountain and Carneros.

Round Pond Estate, Napa Valley
At the “Il Pranzo Tasting Experience,” the afternoon begins with an intimate and informative estate garden tour and guided tasting of their artisan olive oils, red wine vinegars and estate wines.  While enjoying the beautiful view from the terrace, savor local artisan cheeses, meats, breads and other delectable accoutrement, as well as the season’s freshest fruits and vegetables right from their garden.  Top it all off with dessert prepared by the winery chef.  

Sequoia Grove, Napa Valley
“A Taste for Cabernet” is a private small group experience that uses Sequoia Grove’s vineyard-designated Cabernets to show how what’s in the vineyard gets into the glass and how to maximize enjoyment of Cabernet with a meal. A top-rated experience according to Where Traveler magazine.

Silver Oak, Napa Valley
The winery’s “Silver Wine & Food Pairing” gives the opportunity to experience delicious bites with Silver Oak and Twomey wines.  Chef Dominic Orsini uses local ingredients, including herbs and vegetables from their garden to create a delicious seasonal menu.

Trinchero, Napa Valley
Enjoy the “Food & Wine Pairing” in Trinchero’s Legacy Lounge to taste four delectable bites crafted by their culinary team, paired with four of the Single Vineyard wines.  The tasting will finish with a Vin Santo style Semillon with house-made Cantucci. The program also includes a tour of the winery and barrel room.

Lynmar Estate, Sonoma County
At “The Lynmar Lunch,” savor a three-course farm-to-table lunch, featuring delightful creations made from estate-grown and locally sourced ingredients paired with select Lynmar wines.

Alexander Valley Vineyards, Sonoma County
The “Wine & Cheese Pairings” at Alexander Valley Vineyards offers local artisan cheeses paired with four of their most limited-availability wines, while enjoying the views from the tasting room deck.

Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Sonoma County
Choose from three experiences at Dutton-Goldfield Winery: a Wine and Sushi Flight, Wine and Cheese Flight or Beast and Pinot Flight, all paired with limited production wines such as unoaked whites or single-vineyard Pinot Noirs. Click here for more details.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS

Vino Noceto Winery, Amador County
This Amador County winery offers a hyper-local wine and food experience.  The new “Farm-to-Fork Tour” provides in-depth education on seasonal gardening, including a trek through Noceto Farm's Garden while sipping on Vino Noceto's award-winning wines.

CENTRAL COAST

Cima Collina Winery, Monterey County
Hosted by Winemaker Annette Hoff Danzer, Cima Collina’s Certified Wine Specialist Shawn Bruce or a local favorite chef, the “Bring in the Experts” enhanced tasting experience offers a focus of wine production and food pairing specifically created for each group.  Cost varies depending on group size and needs.

INLAND VALLEYS

Peltier Winery & Vineyards, Lodi
The “Fruit of our Labors Day” begins with a tour through the crush pad, vineyards and winery, followed by a tank tasting and light lunch fare. The two-hour experience is on Labor Day Weekend 2017 in Acampo in the Lodi appellation.

Winery-Owned Restaurants

CENTRAL COAST

Wente Vineyards, Livermore Valley
The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards features ingredient-driven California wine country cuisine using sustainably and organically grown local ingredients.  While the menu holds its foundation in American dishes, it is influenced by French and Italian provincial cuisine.  The seasonal menu changes daily, using produce from The Restaurant’s organic garden.  The wine list offers more than 1,000 selections, providing numerous options for wine pairings.

Justin Winery, Paso Robles
The Restaurant at JUSTIN, which was named Winery of the Year 2015 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, offers fresh local ingredients in dishes that reflect the changing seasons, as well as an extensive wine list.  Executive Chef Will Torres takes full advantage of “farm-to-table” local offerings, blending savory and sweet, nouveau and traditional, and urban panache with down-home delicious.

Niner Wine Estates, Paso Robles
The Restaurant at Niner Wine Estates is one of Food and Wine magazine’s “Best Winery Restaurants in America" for 2017.  The winery team leverages close relationships with local farmers, butchers and artisans to offer farm-to-fork dishes.  Niner also mills their own estate olive oil, picks fresh eggs from their flock of chickens, and works with local roaster JOEBELLA to age their coffee beans in old NINER Wine Barrels.  Their open-kitchen lunch service reflects their goal of food-chain transparency.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards, Temecula Valley
At the Creekside Grille, Chef Steve Stawinski shaped the menu using Wilson Creek wines, locally grown fruits, vegetables, cheeses and olive oils, line-caught fresh fish and fresh herbs to create a unique blend of menu items.  Surrounded by 30-year-old Cabernet grapevines, an herb garden and flower-filled hanging baskets, the view sets the scene for an enjoyable day in wine country.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Temecula Valley
The Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, holder of Wine Spectator’s 2015 Award of Excellence, provides a dining experience with wine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  A casual but elegant atmosphere highlights menus featuring fresh local ingredients. Indoor/outdoor seating and an extensive wine list enhance the vineyard experience.

Thornton Winery, Temecula Valley
Café Champagne, which has earned the Gold Award for Contemporary Cuisine for over 11 years from the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association, is open daily for lunch and dinner. Executive Chef Steve Pickell, combines "Contemporary Fusion Cuisine" made with local ingredients with premium wines in a stylish indoor or outdoor patio setting.

Baily Winery, Temecula Valley
At Carol's Restaurant, dine in style outside under the pergola next to Cabernet vines or in Bacchus Hall with its stone walls, floor to ceiling fireplace and vineyard views.  An adjacent vegetable and herb garden provides seasonal produce that Carol Baily uses in her cuisine, which you can pair with Baily' wines.

Ponte Winery, Temecula Valley
Bouquet Restaurant offers vineyard-inspired menus and dishes that focus on fresh, seasonal and local ingredients.  Dine indoors or out at this wine country eatery, located at Ponte’s AAA Four Diamond Inn, surrounded by manicured gardens with views of the vineyard and one-acre pond.

For ideas on California wine and food road trips in more than a dozen other regions of the state, click here.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with 24 million visits to its wine country annually, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,700 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.

# # #

MEDIA CONTACT:
Wine Institute Communications Department, 415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org

Winery Concerts, Festivals, Picnics and More: Great Ways to Experience California Wine Country this Summer

June 8, 2017

Roll out the Barrels_Credit San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association

Roll Out the Barrels is a three-day event June 22-24, offering Edna Valley wine, food and music in downtown San Luis Obispo, one of dozens of great events in California wine country throughout the state this summer.

SAN FRANCISCO — Summer in California is great for surfing, hiking and visiting theme parks with the family, but wine lovers know it’s also the perfect time to visit the dozens of distinct wine regions across the Golden State. Throughout the summer, wineries host concerts, festivals and experiences that range from scenic picnics and pool parties to unique pairing experiences and movie nights.

To help wine-focused travelers plan their summers, California’s Wine Institute has compiled dozens of a list winery experiences that’s a starting point for exploring activities and events around the state. Wine fans can find more and also learn about year-round winery amenities, recipes and information about California wines at www.discovercaliforniawines.com.

1) Winery Concerts

Free Summer Concert Series at Halter Ranch Vineyard, Paso Robles (June-Aug.)
Halter Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles kicks off its first-annual complimentary Summer Concert Series, where guests can pair award-winning wines with an impressive range of local music and vineyard views. The concert lineup includes Rewined (June 16), Kenny Taylor Band (July 14), Bear Market Riot (August 25) and more.

Robert Mondavi Winery Concert Series, Napa Valley (July)
Robert Mondavi Winery’s annual Summer Concert Series benefit the Napa Valley Unified School District Music Program. Artists include Andrew McMahon (July 1), Patti LaBelle (July 8), Michael Franti & Spearhead (July 22) and more.

Summer Sundays at Edna Valley Vineyard (July-Aug.)
Enjoy live music at the newly renovated Edna Valley Vineyard tasting room and deck with views of Islay Peak. Lineup includes: Bear Market Riot, Black Market Trio, Dan Curcio and more. Food and wine are available for purchase. Bring a blanket or low-back lawn chair.

Rodney Strong Vineyard’s Annual Summer Concert Series, Healdsburg (July-Sept.)
Every summer, fans of this series look forward to intimate performances by headliners in a stunning vineyard setting. Attendees can bring a picnic meal or purchase food from local purveyors and listen to Chris Isaak, Kenny Loggins, Chris Botti and Kool & The Gang.

Vina Robles Concert Series, Paso Robles (Ongoing)
This boutique amphitheater offers a variety of outdoor concerts this summer, from Dustin Lynch (June 15) and Trevor Noah (June 24) to REO Speedwagon, Styx & Don Felder (June 25), Michael MacDonald & Boz Scaggs (Aug. 16), Doobie Brothers (Aug. 22) and Idina Menzel (Aug. 27) and Chicago (Sept. 2).

Wente Vineyards Concert Series, Livermore (July – Sept.)
For more than 30 years, The Concerts at Wente Vineyards have showcased world-renowned entertainers in the winery’s picturesque natural amphitheater. Guests enjoy pre-concert sunset dinners outdoors or in The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. This year’s headliners range from Alanis Morissette and Diana Krall to Seal, Smokey Robinson, Dwight Yoakam and Collective Soul.

2) Wine Events, Festivals and Passports

Rhone Rangers California Tour, San Francisco (June 10)
Join the Rhone Rangers at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco to celebrate California’s Rhone-style wines. Start the afternoon with lunch honoring 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Sondra Bernstein of the Girl and the Fig restaurant followed by a live auction, grand tasting and special seminars.

Taste of Mendocino, San Francisco (June 10)
More than 30 Mendocino wineries will be pouring their best wines at Fort Mason Center and Mendocino County artisanal food producers will serve up delicious bites to complement the wines.

2nd Annual Tunes, Trucks & Tastes, Monterey County (June 11)
Enjoy the boutique wineries along Salinas’s River Road at this fun festival, which also features local food trucks and bands. Participating wineries include: Pessagno, Manzoni, Scheid and Ventana.

31st Annual Ojai Wine Festival, Ojai (June 11)
The Ojai Wine Festival, in this sub-region of Santa Barbara recently named by Sunset magazine as one of the top five “Food and Wine Havens in the West,” lets wine visitors enjoy 60 award-winning wineries serving more than 250 selections of wine at the beautiful Lake Casitas Recreation Area.

22nd Annual Taste of Howell Mountain, Napa Valley (June 17)
Guests can indulge in wines from 50 Howell Mountain wineries at this event, which takes place noon - 5 p.m. and includes gourmet food pairings from winery chefs, a silent auction, prizes, live music and more.

Carmel Valley Art & Wine Celebration, Monterey County (June 17)
The event showcases over 50 artists, local wines and strolling musicians at restaurants, shops and galleries throughout the Carmel Valley Village.

Roll Out the Barrels, San Luis Obispo (June 22-24)
Come celebrate San Luis Obispo Wine Country’s 27th anniversary at Roll Out the Barrels, a three-day event offering Edna Valley wine, food and music in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Santa Barbara Wine & Food Festival, Santa Barbara (June 24)
Taking place along the banks of Mission Creek at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, guests can enjoy the best of wine and food from this Central Coast region while mingling with winemakers, bakers, and chefs.

21st Annual Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival, Atascadero (June 24)
This unique wine festival supports the local Charles Paddock Zoo. Featuring local wines, live music, craft beer, tasty eats, craft vendors and local artists, the event also includes the Mayor's Winemaker Dinner, Wine Festival Golf Tournament and Wined Down with Favorite Local Wineries.

Wine Showcase Day, Madera Wine Trail (July 1 & Aug. 5)
Wine lovers can go off the beaten path on Madera’s Showcase days, which take place July 1 and August 5 from 12 to 4 p.m. Each day features a different wine varietal and special tasting.

14th Annual California Wine Festival, Santa Barbara County (July 13-15)
Enjoy wine, food and a seaside setting at this festival, touted as one of the largest and best outdoor wine festivals in the state, featuring hundreds of wines complemented by dozens of top regional chefs and specialty food purveyors.

Mammoth Food & Wine Experience, Mammoth Lakes (July 14-15)
The event offers tastings from more than 20 wineries, food, beer and dessert tasting from local establishments, a wine walk, auctions and more—and it all takes place in Mammoth Lakes, the gateway to Yosemite. For more information, visit www.mammothfoodandwine.org.

2nd Annual Blind Barrel Event, El Dorado (July 15)
Put on your suspenders, bow ties, hats, flapper dresses, pearl necklaces, and dancing shoes and step into the Roaring Twenties for El Dorado Winery Association’s 2nd annual Blind Barrel event, which features food trucks, a live swing band and fine wine.

Santa Cruz Mountains Passport Celebration Day (July 15)
“Passport” holders can choose among 50+ wineries throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains, each offering a unique winery experience and various specials, such as discounts on wine purchases, live music, food and other extras.

Taste Our Terroir, Livermore Valley (July 20-23)
Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair returns for four days to educate visitors about its unique “taste of the land.” Livermore Valley wineries will offer 13 different events, including the popular food and wine pairing competition, a progressive dinner, cooking demonstrations, wine tasting seminars and vineyard tours.

Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival, Salinas (Aug. 12)
Stroll charming Oldtown Salinas while tasting the bounty of Monterey County, from its wines and craft brews to culinary delights straight from “The Salad Bowl of the World,” paired with live music.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Sonoma County (Sept. 1-3)
Guests can sample wares from wineries across the county's 17 diverse wine regions, engage in conversation with Sonoma County's winemakers and winegrowers, and nibble locally sourced food from the county's premier chefs.

3) Winery Experiences

Tours

Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen (Year-round)
Eco-conscious wine enthusiasts can take a behind-the-scenes look at Benziger’s Biodynamic estate vineyard and wine caves, finishing with an exclusive tasting of estate wines. The educational tram tour, pulled by tractors, lets visitors enjoy the scenery – shown in the Keanu Reeves film “A Walk in the Clouds” – filled with long-haired Scottish Highland cattle.

Korbel Winery Bubbles & Bags Event (June 24); Garden Tour, (Now-Oct. 11) Guerneville
Compete in Korbel’s 2nd Annual Cornhole Tournament paired with BBQ and DJ music on June 24. Take an in-depth tour of Korbel’s historic California champagne cellars and the elaborate rose garden now through Oct. 11 – ending with a tasting. Enjoy lunch at the Korbel Delicatessen and Market with patio seating amid the redwoods.

Trefethen Re-opening & 50th Anniversary, Napa (Year-round)
The historic Trefethen winery has re-opened after a 6.0 Earthquake in 2014. Enjoy a Classic or Reserve tasting or a vineyard/winery tour to learn about the architecture and recent restoration of the winery and guided walk through a teaching vineyard.

Unique Wine Pairings

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates and Gardens, Santa Rosa (Year-round)
Foodies can enjoy an exceptional seated food and wine pairing experience, featuring tastings of limited-production wines and original bites created by K-J’s culinary team. The educational pairings reflect the seasonal nature of the 2+ acre Kendall-Jackson culinary gardens where the ingredients are harvested.

First Friday Movie Nights at Rosenthal, Malibu (June-Sept.)
Located on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate Vineyard & Tasting Room offers spectacular ocean views and great food and wine tasting opportunities. For those who like to pair wine with blockbuster movies, Rosenthal offers free First Friday Movie Nights this summer, including: "Beverly Hills Cop" (June 2), "Dirty Dancing" (July 2), "Jaws" (Aug. 4) and “Friday” (Sept. 1). Bring your blankets to cuddle under the stars while sipping wine.

Summer Sip and Shop, Livermore (June 21)
Savor fine Livermore Valley wines while you shop at Livermore Premium Outlets. Tickets include wine tasting, a commemorative wine glass and discounts at participating stores.

Shakespeare in the Vines, Baily Vineyard & Winery, Temecula (June-Aug.)
Pair the performing arts with your wine at Shakespeare in the Vines, now in its 11th season, at Baily Vineyard & Winery. Shows include “A Winter’s Tale” (June 8-24), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (July 13-29), “MacBeth” (Aug. 10-26) and more. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own picnic baskets to fully enjoy the evening.

J Vineyards Food & Wine Pairings, Healdsburg (Now-Nov.)
Enjoy a flight of four of J's award-winning varietal or sparkling wines with four bites on the scenic winery terrace Friday, Saturday or Sunday, 11-4 pm. Dine among the vines at J’s Bow Tie Vineyard dinner party July 15 or enjoy pink pairings at J’s Pink Party Aug. 26.

Sunset Yoga and Wine, McGrail Vineyard, Livermore (June 13)
Begin the evening at McGrail Vineyard with an hour-long yoga class, which will prepare the body for a special tasting of three wines.

Wine Ice Cream at LangeTwins Winery, Acampo (Lodi) (June 25)
Take wine and ice cream pairings to a deeper level by tasting wine-infused ice cream on the sunny patio or in the cool barrel room.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wine & Cheese Pairing, St. Helena (Year-round)
Learn how different foods and wines interact with each other and discover your favorites.

Black Stallion Annual Barbeque, Napa (July 15)
Savor the culinary delights of Back Forty Texas BBQ paired with Limited Release award-winning wines.

Wine & Ice Cream Pairing, Concannon Vineyard, Livermore (Aug. 30)
Cool down with a little ice cream and wine as you learn how to pair them. While most wine professionals say this is an “impossible pairing,” Estate Sommelier LeeAnn Kaufman proves it is definitely doable!

Picnics and Pools

Sip and Swim at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville (Seasonal)
Guests can add a splash to their summer wine tasting by renting a cabine by Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s pool. Enjoy wines by the glass and tasty crepes, pizzas, salads, panini, gelato or cocktails, delivered to your poolside lounge chair.

Scenic Picnic Spots, Livermore Valley (Year-round)
Summer is the perfect time to sit back and take in the scenic Livermore Valley wine region as you sip local wines. Concannon Vineyard offers beautiful seating areas on the lawn reserved for groups up to eight people. At Retzlaff Vineyards and Estate Winery, visitors can lounge on the lush lawn, framed by organic certified vineyards and mature pepper trees and conveniently close to the tasting room. Charles R Vineyards offers a picnic area by the tranquil tasting room nestled among oak trees, as well as photos and artifacts telling the area’s mining history. Steven Kent Winery’s Party on the Patio Series lets wine lovers sip and sway to local bands, while food trucks offer delicious treats.

Paso Robles Picnics, Paso Robles (Year-round)
Various wineries offer outstanding opportunities to picnic overlooking magnificent views of Paso Robles wine country. At Thacher Winery’s historic Kentucky Ranch, guests can grab a picnic lunch in town and pair it with the winery’s California Rhone, Bordeaux and Zinfandel wines. Wine lovers can choose among various picnic-ready lawns and check out shaded groves, vineyards and historic barns. Castoro Cellars features assorted cured meats and cheeses for sale, as well as drinks and crackers, while Eberle Winery, lets you order a gourmet picnic lunch 72 hours in advance or bring your own. Peachy Canyon, Pear Valley Vineyards, Pomar Junction and Zenaida Cellars also offer picnic areas.

Temecula Valley Picnics, Temecula (Year-round)
Temecula Valley in Southern California also offers wonderful winery picnic spots. Maurice Car’rie Winery’s expansive grass picnic area includes picnic tables and an outdoor artisanal marketplace with homemade sourdough and brie bread baked to order. Robert Renzoni Vineyards features a hilltop picnic area with tables and its own tasting bar as well as a panoramic view of De Portola Wine Trail. Wilson Creek Winery boasts a grassy creek area with picnic tables and a playground for the children. They also offer picnic snacks for purchase in the tasting room that pair wonderfully with their wines.

For ideas on California wine and food road trips in more than a dozen other regions of the state, click here.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,700 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Wine Institute Communications Dept., 415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org

2016 California Wine Sales in U.S. Hit New Record: 238 Million Cases with Retail Value of $34.1 Billion

May 2, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — California wine shipments to the U.S. reached an estimated retail value of $34.1 billion in 2016, up 4.6%. The state shipped an all-time high of 238 million cases to the U.S. in 2016, up 2% from the previous year.

California wine sales to all markets, including shipments to the U.S. and exports, also set a record of 285 million cases in 2016.

“Consumers worldwide recognize the high quality of California wines from diverse regions across the state,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO. “As consumers in the U.S. and around the world continue to trade up to premium wines, California is ideally positioned.”

“California wines in the U.S. market have increased from 191 million cases shipped in 2006 to 238 million cases in 2016,” said Jon Moramarco, founder and managing partner of BW166, who purchased The Gomberg-Fredrikson Report with partners last year. “The growth trend has been driven by population, which is up more than 12% over the last decade, and by the fact that baby boomers, traditionally the large population segment of frequent wine consumers, have been joined by millennials aged 21-38 who are also driving the growth in wine consumption,” Moramarco explained.

“The estimated retail value for wine was calculated with an updated methodology that uses a wide variety of government, private, and other statistical data that have not historically been available, such as the direct-to-consumer sales report and Dept. of Commerce data,” Moramarco continued. “Consumer expenditures had been growing at a 6.1% annual rate as opposed to the historical estimates of 5.5% previously published, so the retail value was reset for more recent years. The new data sources provided a more comprehensive methodology for calculating consumer expenditures.”

2016 Stats at a Glance

Pinot Noir Tasting
  • Estimated retail value of 2016 California wine sales in the U.S. was $34.1 billion
  • The state shipped an all-time high of 238 million cases to the U.S. in 2016
  • Total California wine sales to the U.S. and exports was a record 285 million cases
  • The U.S. has been the world’s largest wine market since 2010

Moramarco pointed out several trends in the U.S. marketplace. Both major retailers and distributors continue to consolidate, creating fierce competition and crowded sales channels. Consequently, many wineries are targeting niche sales channels, such as tasting rooms and direct-to-consumer sales, which have now reached more than 4% of the total volume. Another trend is that California wines selling for $10 and above are showing growth, accounting for 19% of the volume and 40% of the value in U.S. food stores. Wines under $10 are flat or down, but still holding 81% share of the shipment volume and 60% of the revenues.

Americans’ access to wine continues to expand with over 550,000 locations that sell wine, according to Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights into consumer preferences and purchases. The number of on- and off-premise locations is about 120,000 more than a decade ago.

“Consumers are finding more “in store” restaurants and bars and also wine service in less traditional locations such as bookstores, nail salons, coffee shops and movie theaters, even car wash and car repair shops,” said Danny Brager, Senior Vice President of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area. “Wine is a growing category, and it is being offered in new and different venues, as well as interesting, alternative packaging vehicles, such as cans, single-serve containers, premium boxes and wines on tap.”

According to Nielsen measured U.S. food store volume, Chardonnay remains the largest varietal of all wine types accounting for 20% share of the cases, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Red Blends including Sweet Reds (12%), Pinot Grigio/Gris (9%), Merlot (7%), Pinot Noir (6%), White Zinfandel/Blush (6%), Moscato/Muscat (5%) and Sauvignon Blanc (5%). The largest gains for whites came from Sauvignon Blanc with Pinot Grigio following well behind. Red wine growth was driven by Red Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. From a smaller base of 1% share, Rosé is on fire with a 35% volume gain, but more than 60% on dollars.

Total shipments of sparkling wine and champagne to the U.S. reached 25.6 million cases in 2016. Up 14% from the previous year, the category is showing very strong growth with Prosecco a key growth driver. Sparkling wines/champagne accounted for a 6% share of the U.S. wine market.

The U.S. Wine Market
Wine shipments to the U.S. from all production sources — California, other states and foreign producers — grew to 399 million cases, up 3% from 2015, with an estimated retail value of nearly $60 billion. The U.S. has remained the world’s largest wine market by volume since 2010. California’s 238 million cases shipped within the U.S. in 2016 represent a 60% share of the U.S. wine market.

U.S. Wine Exports
U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, reached a record $1.62 billion in winery revenues in 2016. Volume shipments were 461 million liters or 51.2 million cases. The European Union’s 28-member countries were the top market for U.S. wine exports, accounting for $685 million; followed by Canada, $431 million; Hong Kong, $99 million; Japan, $87 million; China, $82 million; Mexico, $24 million; South Korea, $23 million; Switzerland, $19 million; Singapore, $14 million; and Philippines, $13 million.

CALIFORNIA WINE SHIPMENTS1
(In millions of 9-liter cases)

Year California Wine Shipments to All Markets in the U.S. and Abroad2 California Wine Shipments to the U.S. Market2 Estimated Retail Value of CA Wine to U.S.3
2016 285.1 238.1 $34.1 billion
2015 282.1 232.7 $32.6 billion
2014 268.6 227.5 $31.3 billion
2013 259.1 215.4 $29.7 billion
2012 249.5 207.2 $29.0 billion
2011 260.0 215.3 $28.5 billion
2010 243.5 201.2 $28.5 billion
2009 246.3 205.9 $27.6 billion
2008 245.2 201.6 $26.1 billion
2007 236.4 195.3 $24.8 billion
2006 228.7 190.6 $24.4 billion
2005 224.0 185.5 $23.0 billion
2004 219.0 179.7 $22.2 billion
2003 206.8 174.7 $20.8 billion
2002 194.4 167.8 $21.5 billion
2001 188.9 162.8 $20.0 billion
2000 187.5 164.9 $17.2 billion
1999 186.4 167.0 $14.3 billion

Sources: Wine Institute and BW166/Gomberg-Fredrikson Report. Preliminary. History revised.

1Includes table, champagne/sparkling, dessert, vermouth, other special natural, sake and others. Excludes cider
2Excludes bulk imports bottled in U.S.
3Estimated retail value includes markups by wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs.

WINE SALES IN THE U.S.
(Wine shipments in millions of 9-liter cases from
California, other states and foreign producers entering U.S. distribution)

Year Table Wine1 Dessert Wine2 Sparkling Wine/ Champagne Total Wine Total Retail Value3
2016 331.7 41.9 25.6 399.2 $59.5 billion
2015 324.9 40.4 22.5 387.7 $57.1 billion
2014 323.7 34.6 20.6 378.8 $55.5 billion
2013 327.0 31.6 18.9 377.5 $52.3 billion
2012 319.5 30.3 17.9 367.7 $50.8 billion
2011 308.1 31.4 17.5 357.0 $48.6 billion
2010 290.8 28.9 15.4 335.0 $46.5 billion
2009 282.4 27.2 14.0 323.5 $45.2 billion
2008 272.2 27.7 13.6 313.5 $45.0 billion
2007 272.5 26.7 13.9 313.0 $43.5 billion
2006 258.8 24.3 13.6 296.7 $41.5 billion
2005 255.4 22.5 13.1 290.9 $38.5 billion
2004 245.3 20.3 13.2 278.8 $36.2 billion
2003 237.0 17.6 12.0 266.6 $34.0 billion
2002 222.5 15.9 11.5 250.0 $33.0 billion
2001 215.4 14.3 11.4 241.4 $29.7 billion
2000 213.2 13.9 11.8 238.9 $26.3 billion
1999 199.8 13.0 15.6 228.4 $22.9 billion

Sources: Wine Institute, Department of Commerce, Estimates by BW166/Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates. Preliminary. History revised. Excludes exports. Excludes cider as of 2011 going forward. Totals may not add up exactly due to rounding.

1Includes all still wines not over 14 percent alcohol, including bulk imports bottled in the U.S.
2Includes all still wines over 14 percent alcohol and sake, including bulk imports bottled in the U.S.
3Estimated retail value includes markups by wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs. Includes on- and off-premise expenditures.


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MEDIA CONTACTS:
Gladys Horiuchi, Wine Institute, 415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org

Winners Announced for Third Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards

April 6, 2017

  Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards logo

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Green Medal recipients have been announced for the third annual Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. The California Green Medal recognizes the leadership of wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability and is presented by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and The Vineyard Team. Four Green Medals are presented in the following categories: Leader, Environment, Community and Business. The recipients of the Green Medal Awards will be honored at a luncheon in Sacramento on April 19, 2017 featuring CalEPA Undersecretary of Environmental Protection Gordon Burns as the keynote speaker. The awards ceremony is part of the California Wines: Down to Earth Month celebration of sustainable winegrowing in April.

Recipients of the 2017 Green Medals are:

Green Medal LeaderLEADER AWARD: Francis Ford Coppola Winery was given this honor for excelling in the “3 E’s” of sustainability — Environmentally sound, socially Equitable and Economically viable.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery, based in Geyserville, Sonoma County, demonstrates exceptional leadership in all areas of sustainability. Last year the winery made a firm commitment to source 100% sustainably certified grapes by 2019, while providing technical and financial assistance to growers to help them achieve certification. Within the company, employees receive sustainability training opportunities and generate ideas on how the company can take the most sustainable approach to address water and energy usage and waste management among other activities. To spearhead these efforts, a volunteer Green Team comprised of employees is active throughout the vineyard and winery operations to implement ideas, identify areas of improvement and seek opportunities to innovate under the guidance of the company’s five-year sustainability plan.

Green Medal EnvironmentENVIRONMENT AWARD: Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery received this recognition for best demonstrating Environmental Stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.
Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, based in St. Helena, Napa Valley, has been a pioneer in green leadership for over 30 years, transitioning its historic estate to organic farming in 1985 and earning organic certification in 1992, one of two organic vineyards in Napa Valley at the time. Spottswoode helped cultivate the idea that going green leads to superior quality. In addition to organic farming, Spottswoode’s commitment to environmental stewardship is reflected in its biodynamic practices, almost exclusive use of solar power, preservation and conservation efforts, and its philanthropic practice of donating 1% of annual profits to environmental organizations.

Green Medal CommunityCOMMUNITY AWARD: St. Francis Winery & Vineyards was given this recognition for being a Good Neighbor & Employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities.

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, operates under the belief that good neighbors help each other and that employees are part of the success of sustainability. The winery offers a comprehensive benefits package and annual health and wellness screenings. Actions like these led to recognition in regional “best places to work” awards for the past six years. Local outreach is also part of their good neighbor ethos, by funding an annual day of service for employees to work at local non-profits. Understanding the importance of education, St. Francis shares a strong message of sustainability with the public through informative vineyard tours and offers technical and financial assistance to local grape growers for sustainability certification and education.

Green Medal BusinessBUSINESS AWARD: Monterey Pacific, Inc. was given this honor for best demonstrating Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.

Monterey Pacific, Inc., with vineyards throughout California's Central Coast, takes the most efficient parts of organic, biodynamic and sustainable farming and creates a successful, economically and environmentally sound management style designed for growing grapes. Their commitment is reflected in virtually no employee turnover, providing continuing education benefits, and offering dual language programs for improvement of overall communication. In 2016, Monterey Pacific certified 6,000 acres to SIP Certified or Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing with a commitment to certify the remaining managed acreage this year. Understanding that vineyard management involves more than just land, but also people and sound business practices, the company has remained steadfast in its commitment to sustainability since its inception.

“The awards program provides an exciting opportunity for California growers and vintners to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to sustainability,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director. “All the vineyards and wineries of all sizes from throughout California that submitted applications were outstanding. The judging panel was impressed by the breadth and depth of sustainable practices being used to conserve water and energy, maintain healthy soil, protect air and water quality, preserve wildlife habitat, and enhance relations with employees and communities, all while improving the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries.”

A panel of wine and sustainability experts judged the applications for the third annual California Green Medal. They include Stephanie Bolton, Grower Communications & Sustainable Winegrowing Director, Lodi Winegrape Commission; David Glancy, Master Sommelier, San Francisco Wine School; Lindsey M. Higgins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Agribusiness Department, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Emily Farrant, Sustainability Manager, Sonoma County Winegrowers; Michelle Novi, Industry Relations Manager, Napa Valley Vintners; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly; and Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certification Manager, The Vineyard Team.

Award sponsors are — Exclusive Media Sponsor: Wine Business Monthly; Silver Sponsors: CC Wine Caves, Farm Credit Alliance, and Marin Clean Energy; and Bronze Sponsors: Ag Unlimited, SureHarvest, and WM EarthCare.

Partnering organizations include: El Dorado Wine Grape Growers Association; Fish Friendly Farming; Mendocino County Resource Conservation District; Mendocino WineGrowers Inc.; Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance; San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association; and Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley.

Visit: www.greenmedal.org for more information. Tickets to the Green Medal awards luncheon on Wednesday, April 19th in Sacramento can be purchased here.

Raise a Glass to “Green” California Wines During Down to Earth Month in April

March 27, 2017

Celebrate at Dozens of Eco-Friendly Winery Events Statewide

D2E 2017 Logo D2E Logo 2016
Down to Earth Month in April offers eco-focused winery events statewide, including Earth Day in Green Valley featuring 10 wineries at Iron Horse Vineyards, pictured right.
 

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Eco-conscious consumers have several fun ways to celebrate with sustainably produced wines during California’s 6th Annual Down to Earth Month in April. California wineries will be offering dozens of sustainability-focused events and activities throughout the month from Earth Day wine festivals, farm-to-glass tours and walks with the winemaker to vineyard hikes, VIP eco-tours and more.

Created by Wine Institute — the association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses — Down to Earth Month raises awareness about the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s (CSWA) Sustainable Winegrowing Program, one of the most comprehensive and widely adopted across the globe, involving wineries and vineyards that grow 70 percent of winegrapes and ship 80 percent of all California wine. This is a remarkable accomplishment as California is the world’s fourth-largest wine producer.

“Consumers want to know how their wines are grown and made, and our Down to Earth Month celebration is a way for people to learn about California’s world leadership in sustainable winegrowing,” said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. “In a recent study, wine trade experts indicated that they anticipate consumer demand for wines produced with sustainable practices to grow substantially over the next decade. Most of California’s wineries and vineyards embrace sustainable practices, so much of what is available is ‘green’ California wine.”

To recognize the commitment of California’s vintners and grapegrowers to sustainable winegrowing, the California Legislature has introduced a joint resolution proclaiming April 2017 as “Down to Earth Month” in California.

Check out April’s winery events throughout California to learn more about sustainably produced wines at: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.

April’s events are happening throughout California with new ones being added daily. View events by region here.

North Coast

On April 22, visit Napa Valley wineries and restaurants and stop by the Earth Day Festival in downtown Napa’s Oxbow Commons. Enjoy local wines and foods, local bands and kids’ activities. Napa Valley Vintners, an event sponsor, has committed to having all its eligible members in the Napa Green program by the end of 2020.

Sonoma County Winegrowers are committed to the county’s wines being 100 percent sustainable by 2019. A great way to explore Sonoma wines and green practices is at the Dry Creek Valley Passport Weekend April 28-30. More than 45 wineries are offering elaborate themed parties with food and wine pairings, chances to meet regional chefs and vintners, and vineyard tours that offer a closer look at their winegrowing practices.

In the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, the Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley festival April 23 offers the chance to taste wines from nearly 10 local wineries at Iron Horse Vineyards. California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross will discuss the future of food, while Chef Traci Des Jardins will showcase the “Impossible Burger” made entirely of plants. Guests can enjoy a National Geographic food photography exhibit, and proceeds benefit Sustainable Conservation.

Inland Valleys

About 90 miles northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area is Lodi, Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Wine Region of the Year. The 2nd Annual Lodi Wine & Food Festival on April 1 provides an opportunity to taste wines from more than 30 wineries, many of which use sustainable practices. Gourmands can enjoy a bounty of dishes from local restaurants and caterers, wine pairings, blind wine tastings, olive oil tasting and live music.

Sierra Foothills

The Sierra Foothills wine region offers some of California’s highest elevation vineyards. El Dorado Wine Association’s 26th Annual Passport Event takes place April 22-23 and April 29-30 and is a chance to explore 20 of the region’s wineries, including participants in sustainable winegrowing efforts. Guests can sample local wines, buy gifts made by regional artisans and enjoy delicious food tastings.

Central Coast & Santa Cruz Mountains

In the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region, more than 50 wineries will offer special tastings during Passport Day on April 15, one of four times a year when wineries of this region come together to offer their wines. Another area tour is the Organic Wine Trail of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The Santa Barbara Vintners Festival Grand Tasting on Earth Day April 22 is the largest tasting of Santa Barbara County wines of the year. Wine lovers can celebrate with more than 100 wineries and winemakers, more than 30 food purveyors and chefs, regional artists and more.

Southern California

San Diego offers the VinDiego Wine and Food Festival, a fun experience with 70 wineries, including many certified sustainable, on April 8. Known as the largest wine tasting in San Diego, the event offers guests a chance to sip among hundreds of California’s finest award-winning wines and enjoy gourmet bites and live music at NTC Liberty Station arts district.

California Sustainable Winegrowing

California is a world leader in sustainable winegrowing practices. The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers 15 years ago, is a three-time recipient of the governor’s top environmental award for increasing adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices in California. More than 2,000 wineries and vineyards in California participate in the CSWA program.

Wineries and vineyards around the state have taken an extra step by earning CSWA’s Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing status verified by a third-party auditor. Certified wineries will soon be able to include a “CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE” logo on their bottle labels following the 2017 harvest.

Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and other statewide and regional programs such as Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) play vital roles in the California wine community’s successful efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially responsible. To learn more, visit: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/sustainable-winegrowing.

Explore all of the Down to Earth Month activities at www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e or to earn a certificate as a Sustainable Winegrowing Ambassador, take a free one-hour course here.


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MEDIA CONTACTS:
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communications@wineinstitute.org

Explore California’s Wine Regions on the Rise

March 9, 2017

Wine Institute’s Road Trip Series Offers Tips on How to Sip, Stay and Play

Regions on the Rise Road Map

SAN FRANCISCO — California’s dozens of scenic wine regions offer a wide variety of experiences and wines to enjoy. To help visitors explore them all, Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trip series highlights different regions each month. For March, the series offers tips for adventurous wine lovers looking for a taste of something new, which they can find in California’s memorable, off-the-beaten-path regions.

SIP: For those traveling on California’s Central Coast, turn east from Monterey County wine country and check out San Benito County’s wine region, known for Syrah and Pinot Noir. Technophiles are often surprised to find rustic vineyards in Silicon Valley’s backyard of Santa Clara County, which boasts 25 wineries and lies east of the Santa Cruz Mountains region. Napa Valley fans looking to venture off road can head just a few miles east to Suisun Valley, located in Solano County, midway between San Francisco and Sacramento. San Francisco travelers need only head north over the Golden Gate Bridge to find the Marin County wineries or east over the Bay Bridge to explore the Oakland Urban wine trail, which is walkable and easily accessible by ferry, BART, Oakland’s free Broadway shuttle and Amtrak.

Those looking for wine, mountains and wildlife can check out the wineries in the Far North of California. Humboldt County wineries are near the coast and Redwood National and State Parks. The Shasta-Cascade Viticultural Association represents the 25-plus wineries set amongst the mountain scenery of five North State counties. Manton Valley wineries (Tehama County) span the Trinity Alps to the west and Lassen Volcanic National Park to the east.

To explore these regions, use the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens, art, food for purchase and more.

STAY: Looking for a place to stay after a day of wine discovery? There are plenty of options in or near San Benito County and Santa Clara County on the Central Coast. In the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounds, check out these Marin County, Oakland and Solano County accommodations. Click here for hotel directories in Humboldt County and here for Shasta Cascade and Manton Valley options.

PLAY: Wine trails and passport weekends are a great way to dip your toe into California’s under-the-radar regions. Santa Clara Valley recently launched a new wine trail with wayfinding signage, and their next passport weekend runs March 17-18. Many tasting experiences can be found along the Marin County wine trail and San Benito wine trail. The annual Suisun Valley Passport Sunday takes place this year on April 23, 2017. In June, Tehama County’s agricultural producers along the Tehama Trail open their doors for Passport Weekend, where culinary enthusiasts can visit wineries and vineyards along with family farms growing a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beef, olives and olive oil. Those visiting at other times of the year can download this self-guided trail map. On winding roads through redwood forests, Humboldt County wineries boast no clear wine trail, but finding them on off road adventures will reward visitors with the interesting people and wines they can discover.

MAKE: When one thinks wine, the first food that comes to mind is cheese. The California Cheese Trail runs through several of these regions. Many of these creameries offer cheese-making classes, especially in Marin, which along with Sonoma boasts the largest concentration of artisan and farmstead cheese makers, second only to Vermont. Marin’s Cowgirl Creamery offers an ongoing Cheese 101 cheese making and tasting class, which is very popular so reservations are required. Humboldt County’s Artisan Cheese Factory also offers classes.

GROW: Located along El Camino Real, or the King’s Highway, rugged San Benito County was settled by Spanish missionaries in the late 1770s, but it was French and German immigrants who established its wine culture, planting the first grapes there in the mid-1800s. Although better known as Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County has one of the oldest wine regions in California. The first grapes were planted at the Santa Clara Mission in 1798. During the Gold Rush era, French and Italians recognized the rich soils and Mediterranean climate as a New World home for their European grape varieties.

The Suisun Valley American viticultural area was established in 1982 and is between two coastal mountain ranges southeast of Napa Valley. Growers produce 23 winegrape varieties with Petite Sirah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon most predominant. Shasta Cascade and Manton Valley are found in the highly volcanic region of Far North California, featuring red volcanic soils with unique composition that produce both red and white winegrapes from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Humboldt County in the Far North has a wide variety of soils and microclimates. In general, the southern portion of the county is informally known as “Pinot Noir country” and the northeast corner has earned acclaim for its Bordeaux-style wines.

EAT: These regions on the rise pose great opportunities for epicures not just for the wines, but for the abundant farm country surrounding them. Farm Trails are popular and offer opportunities to taste California’s 400 specialty crops from olives and almonds to apples and avocados. Great examples are this map of San Benito and Santa Clara county farm trails, the Happy Valley Farm Trail in Shasta County, the Tehama Trail in Tehama County, the Sonoma-Marin Cheese Trail and the Humboldt Bay Oyster Tours, where visitors can go to oyster nurseries and pick fresh oysters. Solano Grown offers diverse wine experiences and events.

For ideas on California wine and food road trips in more than a dozen other regions of the state, click here.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,600 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.


# # #
MEDIA CONTACT:
Wine Institute Communications Dept.
415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org

California Wine Exports Reach Record $1.62 Billion in 2016

February 14, 2017

Global Trend Toward Premiumization Continues


The California Wine Export Program exhibited at Vinexpo Hong Kong, the hub of the growing Asia-Pacific market.

The California Wine Export Program exhibited at Vinexpo Hong Kong,
the hub of the growing Asia-Pacific market.

SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. wine exports, 90% from California, reached $1.62 billion in winery revenues in 2016, a new record. Despite challenges from a strong dollar, winery revenues were up 1% from 2015. Volume was 412.7 million liters or 45.9 million cases.

"California wine exports continue to reflect the trend toward premiumization with the dollar value of our wine sales outpacing volume shipments. California wines are well positioned for this trend—our vintners are offering quality, value, diverse styles and environmental stewardship in their winemaking. Combined with the state’s iconic lifestyle, innovative cuisine and beautiful destinations, California wines continue to gain attention from consumers worldwide," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO.

The top 10 export markets for California wines are: the European Union's 28-member countries, accounting for $685 million, followed by Canada, $431 million; Hong Kong, $99 million; Japan, $87 million; China, $82 million; Mexico, $24 million; South Korea, $23 million; Switzerland, $19 million; and Singapore, $14 million; and Philippines, $13 million.

"California wine exports have grown 78% by value in the last decade despite heavily-subsidized foreign competitors and high tariffs. Our global trading partners are increasingly acknowledging the high quality of wine from the Golden State and responding to our California Wines marketing efforts throughout the world,” said Wine Institute Vice President International Marketing Linsey Gallagher. Gallagher manages Wine Institute's California Wine Export Program, involving more than 170 wineries that export to 138 countries, and 15 representatives and offices in 25 countries across the globe.

"Trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have helped to dramatically grow U.S. wine exports yet discriminatory non-tariff trade barriers continue to be crafted by foreign governments at a steady pace," said Tom LaFaille, Wine Institute Vice President and International Trade Counsel. "We applaud U.S. government efforts to eliminate these barriers and strengthen our competitiveness globally, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge against Canada which seeks to ensure that British Columbia grocery store consumers can choose from the vast array of the world's great wines."

Wine Institute's Regional Trade Directors in key export markets reported on 2016 exports:

Canada
"Canada remains a strong market for California wines and despite a slowdown in momentum, U.S. wines were still #1 in the table wine category in Canada in 2016. Retail sales of U.S. wines are now at a record 6.5 million cases and $1.1 billion dollars with the strongest increases in the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We anticipate continued growth and are also hopeful that provincial governments will extend to California wineries equal access to retail distribution channels," said Rick Slomka, Wine Institute Trade Director for Canada. "Canadian consumers have confidence in the quality and value offered by California wineries whose wines are successful in all price segments. Recent price increases resulting from exchange rate fluctuation may lead to slower growth."

Continental Europe
"As the dollar moves towards parity with the Euro, export volumes to Europe are down in most countries, mainly in the lower priced segment. The good news is that the dollar value of California’s exports to the EU countries (excluding UK) is up 2.7% as the interest in premium California wines continues to be strong," said Paul Molleman, Wine Institute Trade Director for Continental Europe.

United Kingdom
"It's a fantastic result for California wine in the UK, continuing three years of accelerating growth. There is a very clear trend towards premiumization with +18% value growth and rising volumes (+5%). The conversation is increasingly about exceptional wine quality from California across both powerful and elegant styles. Volume shipped exceeded 13 million 9-liter cases to the UK, making it the top volume export destination for California wines globally. With the value of California exports to the UK now worth $337 million, the industry is on track to meet its target of $400 million in export sales by the end of the decade," said Wine Institute United Kingdom Trade Director Justin Knock.

Japan
"U.S. bulk wine exports to Japan have been growing as major Japanese importers are now importing popular-priced California wine brands in bulk and then bottling in Japan. This reduces the burdensome import duty to a limited extent and makes inventory control easier. In 2016, we saw the last major generic California wine brand switch to local bottling," said Ken-ichi Hori, Wine Institute Japan Trade Director. "Japanese importers of U.S. wines were disappointed to learn of the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They now hope the U.S. will establish a Free Trade Agreement with Japan as soon as possible to abolish the heavy import duty on U.S. wines, which will help the entire American wine category grow in Japan. This is critical for the U.S. wine industry, since our competitors, Chile and Australia, already have free trade agreements with Japan and benefit from a duty advantage over U.S. wines."

China
"The significant growth in U.S. wine exports to China in 2016 is particularly important because it demonstrates a meaningful growth in higher value products. A 47% increase in value in one year, coupled with an 11% increase in volume, speaks to the inherent strength in consumer acceptance of California wines in China, despite the rising value of the U.S. dollar versus the Chinese RMB currency throughout the year. Additionally, according to research firm Wine Intelligence, the total number of imported wine consumers in China increased by 26% over the last two years. These concurrent developments signal an increasing healthy market in China and Chinese consumers' burgeoning interest in California wines," said Christopher Beros, Wine Institute Trade Director for China and Pacific Rim.

Since 1985, Wine Institute has served as the administrator of the Market Access Program, a cost-share export promotion program managed by the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. Wine Institute's Export Program supports California Wines worldwide with a consumer website discovercaliforniawines.com in eight languages, social media campaigns in 16 countries, an educational California Wines PowerPoint tool and videos, and a strong partnership with Visit California to increase tourism to California wine regions. Wine Institute organizes California's participation in international trade shows and trade missions, offers master classes and seminars as well as tastings for trade, media and consumers worldwide. Last year, the program hosted 150 international media and wine buyers from 15 countries for visits to California wine country. For information, see: Wine Institute's California Wine Export Program

# # #


U.S. WINE EXPORTS*
Year to Date: January-December
2016 and 2015

 

Value (U.S. Dollars)
Revenues to Wineries

Variance
’16 v ‘15

Volume (Liters)

Variance
’16 v ‘15

PARTNER COUNTRY
Ranked by 2016 Value

2016

2015

Percent

2016

2015

Percent

 

European Union Total**

$685,170,785

$622,325,431

10.10

221,188,826

238,843,833

-7.39

Canada

$431,402,639

$461,217,774

- 6.46

88,776,570

99,780,645

- 11.03

Hong Kong

$98,615,294

$97,293,559

1.36

12,438,896

12,540,529

- 0.81

Japan

$87,488,237

$96,602,621

- 9.43

23,613,126

29,474,848

- 19.89

China

$81,689,265

$55,742,263

46.55

14,871,716

13,385,112

11.11

Mexico

$24,059,600

$25,973,601

- 7.37

7,839,002

9,382,894

- 16.45

South Korea

$23,337,670

$23,452,775

- 0.49

4,261,903

4,401,293

- 3.17

Switzerland

$18,568,360

$21,155,711

- 12.23

2,304,460

2,693,876

- 14.46

Singapore

$13,606,568

$14,965,175

- 9.08

2,227,056

2,773,251

- 19.70

Philippines

$13,202,614

$11,722,946

12.62

4,317,825

4,075,393

5.95

Dominican Republic

$13,031,174

$11,091,842

17.48

3,156,701

3,160,844

- 0.13

Taiwan

$12,173,291

$10,557,798

15.30

1,646,567

1,858,293

- 11.39

Vietnam

$9,949,863

$11,745,692

- 15.29

346,954

1,134,683

- 69.42

Bahamas

$9,368,438

$8,346,776

12.24

1,525,134

1,712,806

- 10.96

Norway

$7,667,471

$5,732,539

33.75

4,130,418

2,991,410

38.08

United Arab Emirates

$6,485,273

$9,290,287

- 30.19

1,026,694

1,674,586

- 38.69

Panama

$5,030,911

$3,748,279

34.22

1,018,050

852,534

19.41

Bermuda

$4,937,744

$4,484,424

10.11

1,046,962

881,057

18.83

Thailand

$4,338,664

$5,379,211

- 19.34

807,008

1,177,739

- 31.48

Cayman Islands

$4,313,943

$4,685,239

- 7.92

389,836

500,622

- 22.13

 

OTHER COUNTRIES

$65,288,952

$97,730,084

-33.19

22,351,679

27,831,678

-19.69

 

WORLD TOTAL

$1,619,726,756

$1,603,244,027

1.03

412,650,737

461,196,309

- 10.53

Source: Wine Institute & Global Trade Information Services, using data from U.S. Dept. of Commerce.  Preliminary numbers. 
Includes hard cider. History revised.

*Statistics exclude re-exported wine due to U.S. DOC changing its reporting to exclude this wine. 

**Stats for the 28 EU countries are combined because transshipments to final destinations in neighboring countries make a country-by-country breakdown not reflective of actual consumption in each country.

To convert liters to gallons, multiply liters by .26418
To convert liters to cases, divide liters by 9

 

U.S. WINE EXPORTS 1997-2016

Year

Volume
(In millions)

Value
(In millions of dollars)

 

Gallons

Liters

Cases

Revenues to Wineries

2016

109.0

412.7

45.9

$1,620

2015

121.8

461.2

51.2

$1,603

2014

117.0

442.7

49.2

$1,494

2013

115.1

435.8

48.4

$1,553

2012

106.9

404.8

45.0

$1,336

2011

111.4

421.6

46.8

$1,297

2010

107.6

407.3

45.3

$1,064

2009

106.4

402.8

44.8

$859

2008

125.5

474.9

52.8

$963

2007

115.9

438.8

48.8

$911

2006

105.1

397.9

44.2

$843

2005

101.5

384.1

42.7

$659

 2004

119.1

451.0

50.1

$796

 2003

92.3

349.2

38.8

$621

2002

73.4

277.8

30.9

$542

2001

78.8

298.3

33.1

$531

2000

77.8

294.4

32.7

$551

1999

74.2

281.0

31.2

$541

1998

71.1

269.1

29.9

$532

1997

58.7

222.1

24.7

$415

                                                    
Source: Wine Institute & Global Trade Information Services,
using data from U.S. Dept. of Commerce. History revised.

 

US Wine Exports in Millions of Dollars

Source:  Wine Institute & Global Trade Information Services, using U.S. Dept. of Commerce data.

 

Explore Southern California on a California Wines Road Trip

January 5, 2017

Wine Institute Offers Tips on How to Sip, Stay and Play in Wine Country, from Temecula and San Diego to Los Angeles

Southern California Wine Road Trip 2017

SAN FRANCISCO—California’s many scenic wine regions offer a wide variety of experiences and wines to enjoy. To help visitors explore them all, Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trip series highlights a different region each month. To ring in the new year in style, take a trip to Southern California, a region famous for surfing, Hollywood and theme parks, but also home to several surprising wine regions, from Temecula Valley and San Diego County to Cucamonga Valley and the Los Angeles area.

SIP: Southern California’s wine region is home to about 200 wineries. Taste your way through this roster of Southern California wineries or use the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens, art, food for purchase and more. Wine lovers can choose a variety of ways to sip. Explore the San Diego Urban Wine Trail or leave the car behind and board the San Diego Wine Train Tour, where you can enjoy coastal scenery and tastes at urban wineries and restaurants.

Wine trails are a great way to sip, such as the acclaimed North Mountain Wine Trail, 25 miles south of Temecula Valley in east San Diego County. In Temecula Valley, 60 minutes from San Diego and 90 minutes from Los Angeles, the De Portola Wine Trail features wineries set in a rural, equestrian area, while the off-the-beaten path Calle Contento Wine Trail offers sweeping views. North of Los Angeles, try the Ventura County Wine Trail with its artisan wineries, outlet shopping, fine dining and five top museums or the Malibu Wine Trail with the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains and Pacific Ocean as a backdrop.

STAY: There are any number of wine country resorts, golf resorts, boutique hotels and bed and breakfast inns in Southern California, from Temecula Valley and San Diego to Los Angeles and Ventura. Stay on site at a winery at Temecula’s South Coast Winery, Ponte Vineyard Inn and Wilson Creek Winery.

PLAY: Southern California offers many ways to play while enjoying wine county. See movie sets and catch a glimpse of a celebrity on the Malibu Wine Tasting & Sightseeing Tour. In Ventura County, take part in guided weekend Sip & Savor Wine Tours, starting from Ventura’s historic downtown. In Temecula Valley, visitors can pedal to their favorite wineries, or take a hot air balloon ride over vineyards. Explore the historic Gaslamp Quarter’s shopping, galleries and dining, paired with a So Diego Tours walking wine tasting tour. Moving inland, wine lovers can enjoy wine country towns in Ramona Valley, including the gold-mining town of Julian and Ramona with its numerous antique shops—about 15 minutes away from the San Diego Zoo. Other favorite towns include Fallbrook and Escondido, both of which have thriving art and dining scenes.

MAKE: Apple pies are a specialty in Julian, and you can learn how to make them at Mom’s Pies. Aspiring amateur chefs can enjoy any number of cooking classes in San Diego, or sample hands-on educational programs at many wineries or wine schools such as Wine Smarties in San Diego. Combine these passions at Curds and Wine, where guests learn to make wine and cheese. Make great art with wine as your muse at Red Brick Art’s Paint & Sip classes at a local Ventura winery. Or take a fun hands-on cooking class at a Temecula winery with take-home material to make cooking at home successful.

GROW: The South Coast AVA is the largest viticultural area in the region, stretching from Malibu to the Mexican border. San Diego County is home to 115 wineries and where California wine began. Franciscan monks planted winegrapes in 1769 and produced wine at California’s first mission, Mission San Diego del Alcala. Today about 60 varieties are farmed by its small, family owned wineries. Temecula Valley is a viticultural area in Riverside County, located between Los Angeles and San Diego, home to more than 40 wineries. The region’s Mediterranean climate is marked by warm days moderated by cool ocean breezes at night—producing a veritable A-Z of grapes. East of Los Angeles, the Cucamonga Valley—known for Old Vine Zinfandels and Port-style wines—was a dominant region during the first half of the last century and some founding families are still making wine here. North of Los Angeles, visit the Malibu Coast Wine Trail and its seven wineries growing limited production wines in this marine climate near the Santa Monica Mountains. Ventura County’s dozen wineries are all located within minutes of each other in a casual coastal setting.

EAT: Temecula Olive Oil Company’s Old Town store offers free tastings of their locally grown and produced olive oils and balsamic vinegars for sale. A new crop of Temecula Valley chefs are using regional ingredients and creating innovative menus at eateries such as Baba Joon’s Kitchen at Fazeli Cellars and PUBlic House. With San Diego County’s proximity to the border, it’s no surprise it has some of the best Mexican cuisine in the state. Los Angeles has one of the most dynamic dining scenes in the country, offering everything from street food to 5-star restaurants; try them all during the Dine L.A. restaurant weeks in January and July. Visitors can also enjoy a Downtown Ventura Tasting Tour, stopping at six shops and restaurants for tastings and conversations with the chefs and shop owners behind some of the county’s best eats.

SHOP: In addition to regional wines and antiques in Ramona, a unique gift one can find there is the camel’s milk soap at Oasis Camel Dairy, the first camel farm in the United States. Camel milk is not sold for consumption, but the farm offers an entertaining, up close experience with these animals. The Temecula Lavender Company offers farm tours in summer, showing how the oil is extracted and offering tastings such as lavender cookies and lavender lemonade. They also sell handmade lavender body and beauty products at their year-round store in Old Town.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,600 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.


# # #
MEDIA CONTACT:
Wine Institute Communications Dept.
415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org

Explore the Inland Valleys on a California Wines Road Trip

December 14, 2016

Wine Institute Offers Tips on How to Sip, Stay and Play in this Wine Region—Rich in Agritourism and Fertile Farmland

Inland Valleys California Wines Road Trip 2016

 

SAN FRANCISCO—California’s beautiful wine regions offer a wide variety of wines and experiences to enjoy and are a key reason that many travelers choose the Golden State as a vacation destination. To help visitors learn more, Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trip series highlights different wine country destinations. This month take a trip to California’s Inland Valleys wine region, a bountiful cornucopia that’s ripe for exploration.

Running 450 miles (720 km) from San Joaquin Valley in the south to the Sacramento Valley in the north – the Inland Valleys are located in California’s geographic center, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions. More than 250 crops are grown in this area, including winegrapes, almonds, apricots, tomatoes, cotton, asparagus and rice.

SIP: Numerous wineries call the Inland Valleys home, the majority of which are family-owned, small producers. As in most of California, this often means that winery visitors can find the owner – usually the winemaker – pouring in the tasting room. Browse this list of wineries in the San Joaquin Valley, Madera County, Sacramento Valley and Lodi or use the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens, picnic areas, food for purchase, concerts, art and more.

STAY: Wine enthusiasts can find a number of boutique and resort properties throughout the region, from quaint inns to trendy lifestyle hotels. Top picks for Sacramento include: The Westin, where it’s all about the location on the Sacramento River; the historic 1926 Citizen Hotel, located two blocks from the State Capitol; and the Delta King Hotel, an authentic riverboat permanently docked in Old Sacramento. In Madera, sure bets include Chateau du Sureau, Chukchansi Resort and Casino and Queen’s Inn. Another great home base for traveling north of Sacramento is the Chico/Oroville area, featuring a wide variety of lodging options.

PLAY: A great way to experience the Inland Valleys is through wine trails and passport events. The Madera Wine Trail features nine wineries serving their renowned dessert, port-style and late-harvest wines, among others. Many visitors start tasting at the wineries near Yosemite National Park, and work their way down to Madera. Further to the south, the Fresno County Wine Journey is a passport event taking place each spring, fall and Valentine’s weekend, offering tastings at 11 wineries, two breweries and two retail tasting rooms. Don’t miss Fresno State Winery, the first university in the U.S. to have a fully licensed winery. Visitors can taste or buy the wine at Fresno State Gibson Farmers Market where offerings are all produced by Fresno State students. Up in Sacramento, taste at multiple wineries in one stop at the Old Sugar Mill. Or go further north and experience the Sierra Oro Farm Trail in the Chico/Oroville area in Butte County where one can taste at 16 wineries and explore working farms offering olive oil, cheese, farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, and more.

MAKE: As the most productive growing region in the state, the Inland Valleys offer the most abundant agritourism experiences. A standout is Sacramento, known as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital. The region boasts a variety of cooking experiences sourcing abundant local ingredients. One unique option in the region is The Kitchen, where guests can sip local wines and view their dinner being prepared in “acts” by expert chefs who actively engage the audience. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op lets food lovers can try their hand at making everything from Indian Street food to udon noodles, while Taylor’s Market teaches guests the basics of butchering, using regionally-grown meats, and includes lunch at one of the Sacramento region’s most well-known marketplaces.

GROW: The Inland Valleys stretch far across the state and naturally feature diverse soil types, topography and microclimates. The two valleys, Sacramento and San Joaquin, encompass about 49 percent of the state’s winegrape acreage, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay the biggest red and white varieties. As one of the oldest grapegrowing regions in America, Madera County boasts a rich wine heritage, producing winegrapes since the late 1800s. Just 20 minutes northwest from downtown Sacramento on the Sacramento River, the Clarksburg appellation spans 7,000 acres and grows over 35 varieties, the most popular being Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Sauvignon Blanc.

EAT: It’s no surprise that the region is known for its farm-to-fork lifestyle. Local Roots Food Tours takes serious gourmands on a walking tour of farm-to-fork Sacramento eateries. Visitors can go nuts at the downtown Sacramento visitor center and gift shop for the local Blue Diamond Growers, which has the largest almond processing plant in the world. Another local specialty is Sterling Caviar, which sustainably farms 80 percent of domestic caviar (white sturgeon) and is principal supplier to many top restaurants around the world. Popular foodie festivals include the Grape Escape in June and the Farm-to-Fork Festival in September. Over in Madera County, the top fig producer in the state, figs are celebrated in restaurants, specialty food products and the big Fig Fest event every August. Pomegranates are also a prominent crop and featured in the annual Pomegranate Festival every October or November. Down in Fresno, billed as the Agricultural Capital of the World, visitors won’t go hungry on the Fresno County Fruit Trail, a self-guided tour with food ranging from seasonal fruits and vegetables to nuts and olive oil tasting rooms. Home to the town of Selma, the Raisin Capital of the World, the Selma Raisin Festival takes place each May. Every October the Big Fresno Fair celebrates the region’s bounty with exhibits including agriculture, livestock and floriculture, paired with food, rides, entertainment and horse racing.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,600 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.


# # #

MEDIA CONTACT:
Wine Institute Communications Dept.
415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Receives Drinks Business 2016 Green Award

November 15, 2016

Drinks Business Green Awards 2016

SAN FRANCISCO — CSWA is the winner of the 2016 Green Award, the Amorim Sustainability Award for a Generic Organization, given by The Drinks Business, an industry trade publication based in London. The publication judges lauded CSWA for building on nearly 15 years of accomplishments in promoting sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices throughout California.

Among CSWA's achievements in 2015 and 2016 are the release of the 2015 California Wine Community Sustainability Report, a dramatic increase in participation in Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, and the launch of the California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards.

The Drinks Business Green Awards are in their seventh year, a testament to how the green agenda has increasingly gained importance in the global wine industry.

CSWA's Sustainability Report documents broad participation in the Sustainable Winegrowing Program and wide adoption of the practices by California wineries and vineyards representing 170,000 hectares (69% of the state's winegrape acreage) and over 212 million cases (79% of cases produced in the state). Since the program's inception in 2002, nearly 14,000 vintners and growers have attended CSWA workshops. CSWA's third-party audit program, Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, also shows increased participation. To date, certified wineries and vineyards account for 64% of the total cases produced in California and 18% of California’s total winegrape hectares/acreage. Additionally, CSWA, along with other California wine industry partners, also introduced a new annual awards program to showcase some of the leading California vintners and growers committed to sustainability.

"We are so honored to receive international recognition of our program by The Drinks Business," said Allison Jordan, executive director of CSWA. "With California as the fourth largest wine region in the world, we hope the scale of this accomplishment will help us realize our vision of vibrant businesses, stronger communities and a healthy environment."

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers. CSWA's mission is to ensure that the California wine community is recognized globally as the leader in sustainable winegrowing in the marketplace and public policy arena through the development and promotion of sustainable practices, tools for education and outreach, partnerships with key stakeholders, and prioritizing research.

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Explore Monterey County on a California Wines Road Trip

November 1, 2016

Wine Institute Series Offers Tips on How to Sip, Stay and Play in Wine Country

Monterey California Wines Road Trip 2016

 

SAN FRANCISCO—California’s dozens of scenic wine regions offer a wide variety of experiences and wines to enjoy. To help visitors explore them all, Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trip series highlights a different region each month. For November, take a trip to Monterey County, a region famous for scenic beauty, world-famous golf, and its unique geological feature—the undersea “Blue Grand Canyon™”—which has a profound influence on the region’s climate and wines.

SIP: The Monterey County wine region is home to more than 60 tasting rooms, 85 wineries and 225 vineyards with nearly 46,000 winegrape acres. Browse this list of Monterey County wineries or use the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens, art, food for purchase and more. The Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association website is a good resource for wineries, tasting rooms and local events. On Monterey’s Cannery Row, made famous in John Steinbeck’s novel, receive a Monterey wines overview and tasting at the Taste of Monterey Visitor Center. Another great way to explore Monterey wines is at the charming and completely walkable village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, home to several downtown tasting rooms and wine bars and the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea, a “passport” collection of 15 tasting rooms all within one mile.

STAY: Named one of Wine Enthusiast magazine’s “Top Ten Travel Destinations” in 2013, Monterey County is located just an hour from Silicon Valley and two hours from San Francisco. There is a range of accommodations from boutique inns and hotels to world-famous resorts. Whether choosing a gabled Victorian B&B in Pacific Grove, a seaside view of Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf, an historic hideaway in Carmel-by-the-Sea or a luxurious resort stay in Pebble Beach, there’s an option for every visitor.

PLAY: Leave the car and board the Wine Trolley for a guided trip to the wineries of Carmel Valley, enjoying food and beautiful vistas along the way. The Monterey peninsula is on the migration path of whales, making for spectacular seasonal sightings. Don’t miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which Zagat Survey rated as the nation’s top aquarium and the third best attraction in the U.S.

John Steinbeck fans can make a pilgrimage to the National Steinbeck Center in the author’s hometown of Salinas or tour locations featured in his writings. In Steinbeck’s Salinas Valley, hike the craggy rocks of Pinnacles National Park, formed by the ancient volcano Neemash, and go wine tasting at one of the 12 wineries.

A popular attraction in Monterey is a trip to Big Sur for hiking, camping or a drive on the 90-mile coastline of Highway One, stretching between Carmel and Ragged Point. The region’s other scenic route is Pebble Beach’s 17-mile drive, home to the 250-year-old Lone Cypress tree and Pebble Beach’s spectacular oceanside golf courses. Or just explore the tide pools along the rocky beaches of the Pacific Coast.

MAKE: Monterey County is well known for its visual community, especially the “Plein Air” style of painting. Try a workshop offered by Carmel Visual Arts, Pacific Grove Art Center or Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association. Or attend a “Paint and Sip” event at one of the tasting rooms along the River Road Wine Trail.

GROW: Franciscan friars first introduced winegrapes to Monterey County near the Soledad Mission more than 200 years ago. While more than 40 winegrape varieties can be found today in Monterey, more Chardonnay is grown here than in any other county in the U.S. The region has nine American Viticultural Areas and is also part of the larger Central Coast AVA.

But what grape to plant where depends largely on where the area lies along the “The Thermal Rainbow™”, which illustrates the climate effect of Monterey Bay’s undersea secret: the “Blue Grand Canyon™.” This enormous submarine canyon is filled with deep, cold water that brings cooler temperatures to the northern district of Monterey wine country closest to the ocean, where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive. The warmer areas are farthest from the ocean in the south of the county, where Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and many Rhone grape varieties flourish. The canyon brings fog and moderate temperatures throughout the growing season, often as much as one month longer than many other winegrowing regions. The extra time on the vine results in smaller berries and vibrant fruit with concentrated flavors and balance.

EAT: Monterey County is a foodie’s paradise, with farm-fresh produce from Salinas Valley and abundant seafood including a local favorite, the Monterey Bay Sand Dab, recommended as a “Best Choice” by sustainability watchdog Seafood Watch. Carmel Valley, Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel-by-the-Sea all offer dining options for every budget and taste preference; explore them here. Serious food and wine lovers should try attending the next Pebble Beach Food & Wine event (April 20-23, 2017) featuring 75 chefs and 250 wineries.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,600 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.


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2016 California Winegrape Harvest: Early, Normal Yield, Exquisite Quality

October 19, 2016

Harvest Worker. Photo by George Rose
SAN FRANCISCO—The 2016 California winegrape harvest was early, with a mostly normal yield of exceptional quality fruit throughout the state. A relatively even growing season followed welcome winter rains that helped to alleviate the drought. “It’s been a good season so far—the grapes are in great condition, showcasing spectacular flavors,” said Randy Ullom, winemaster at Kendall-Jackson Wines, with vineyards in Sonoma County and statewide. Cathy Corison, owner/winemaker at Corison Winery in Napa Valley is equally pleased: “2016 was early, small and delicious. The entire ripening season enjoyed cooler than average daytime highs and cold nights—perfect for inky, complex wines. Measured in pace, it was also easy on the winemakers.”

The overall state winegrape crop was estimated to be near the historical average of 3.9 million tons by the California Department of Food and Agriculture in August 2016.

“Anticipated El Niño rainfall was less than hoped for (eight inches) in Paso Robles, but still greater than the prior four vintages of drought, and appears to have had a positive effect on yields and quality in our Bordeaux and Rhone varietals in 2016,” said Jeff Meier, director of winemaking/president, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. “Yield projections for 2016 were slightly below long-term averages, but most varieties are coming in at or above estimates—a welcome outcome for Paso Robles growers. Overall, the vintage of 2016 is delivering high quality, high color density Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the cooler microclimates and fruit-intensive Rhone varietals.”

In Lodi, Michael David Winery hit the halfway mark at the end of September. “The harvest pace was steady and extremely level with little peaks of chaos. Small heat spikes followed by fairly moderate weather have pushed sugars up in vineyards where needed and then allowed time for growers and wineries to get fruit off in a timely manner without major fruit breakdown or raisining. Fruit looks exceptional so far—probably the cleanest Zinfandel crop I have seen in some time. The wines are coming out beautifully, and it’s another fantastic harvest in Lodi,” said Adam Mettler, director of winemaking.

“Here in Santa Barbara, we have seen another early harvest, and much of the Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc was harvested in the last two weeks of August,” said Frank Ostini, owner/winemaker of Hitching Post Wines. “We had a very warm spring and early summer, but July and August brought cool nights and gentle warmth that allowed the medium-sized crop to mature perfectly—small berries in pristine condition. We are excited to be making some of our best-ever balanced wines with fine color and intensity.”

“The 2016 harvest in Sonoma County looks a lot like the 2015 harvest,” said Ryan Decker, winegrower at Rodney Strong Vineyards. “We started early, we will finish early, and the winemakers are very excited with what they are seeing in the fermenters. One of the main differences—a welcome one—was the seven to 10-day break we had between the Pinot/Chardonnay harvest and the Merlot/Cabernet harvest. This year we had some unseasonably cool temperatures in mid-September that put the brakes on harvest, albeit temporarily, allowing us to free up some tank space. The yields are down just a bit from the long-term average, but wine quality looks to be stellar.”

“Another high quality California vintage is great news for wine consumers here and abroad who continue to drive sales of Golden State wines to record levels,” said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. “With California wine’s economic contribution of $57.6 billion annually to the state economy and $114 billion annually to the U.S. economy, it’s also excellent news for our state and nation which benefit from jobs, tax revenues, hospitality, tourism and community enhancement."

Leaf & Grapes. Photo by George Rose
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California Quotes & Notes on Harvest 2016

LAKE COUNTY
Tracey Hawkins, co-founder, Hawk and Horse Vineyards

Lake County winegrape growers are proclaiming 2016 an exquisite year for quality. From bud break, through bloom and veraison, the county saw textbook weather patterns. Warm spring days, shifting to a hot, bright summer with cooling coastal breezes in the evenings, is typical of this mountainous region. Harvest was slightly early—not as early as last year’s vintage—but about two weeks earlier than normal. Countywide, growers are reporting even maturity and ripening. Yields for whites are slightly above average. Yields for red varietals have been more variable, with some yields above average and some slightly below average.

LIVERMORE
Mark Clarin, winemaker, McGrail Vineyards and Winery

The winter rains were a blessing after several years of drought. The vines woke up on time and had excellent growth. Our yields in the Livermore Valley have bounced back from the lighter 2015 vintage. The flavors are great, fruit is ripening perfectly, and the color is excellent across the board. I anticipate a spectacular vintage in quality and quantity.

LODI
Joseph Smith, winemaker, Klinker Brick Winery

Klinker Brick Winery started harvesting eight days later than last year. The quality for the whites is excellent, with uniform, flavorful grape clusters and all analysis in balance. As for the reds, yields—especially Zinfandel—seem to be a little heavy, but the quality is showing well; fermentations are all healthy, and colors across the board are great. Cabernet Sauvignon seems to be average with small concentrated berries and nice loose clusters. This harvest was more of a steady but manageable pace compared to last year. We had an amazing growing season in Lodi with just enough heat during the day and cool nights to keep the grapes hanging until peak ripeness. I am really eager to see the development of this vintage, which I believe is going to be great!

MADERA
Ray Krause, vinificator, Westbrook Wine Farm

Madera County, and the Madera Appellation-grown fruit, enjoy a variation of altitudes from 200 to 1500 feet. After five years of accumulated drought effects, the 12 inches of valley and 34 inches of foothill area rainfall were welcomed by plants and people alike. Yields from foothill vineyards were lower than average as were sugar levels at physiological maturity. There was some early season mildew pressure, minimal bird damage, “hen and chicks” in some varieties, such as Cabernet Franc, but little raisining or sunburn. Good color, pH and solids to juice should contribute to this vintage’s balance and structural stability. A harvest spread from early August (whites) through late September (reds) has given vintners adequate windows for proper processing.

MENDOCINO
John Killebrew, winemaker, Z. Alexander Brown Wines

Sufficient rainfall last winter has allowed the vines in the North Coast to develop strong roots and produce full canopies. This has really helped the vineyards in Mendocino, Red Hills and Alexander Valley thrive through the late season heat that pushed our Cabernet, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Syrah to ripeness after a long, cool summer of even and steady fruit maturation. We are pleased with the excellent flavor development, acid, and tannin balance that we will reap from this excellent vintage!

George Phelan, director of winemaking/winery manager, Dunnewood Vineyards & Winery
Oct. 2 marked the first storm of the 2016 harvest and followed a near-perfect growing season, coming after the majority of the fruit in Mendocino County had been picked. The 2016 growing season started with winter and spring rains that were near normal, compared to the drought conditions of 2012-2015. The warm and dry summer contributed to an early harvest. The resulting wines are flavorful, and the red wines deeply colored.

MONTEREY
Sabrine Rodems, winemaker, Wrath Vineyards

In the Monterey area, we had an earlier-than-normal start of harvest because of early bud break. Due to little rainfall and warm spring temperatures, bud break was as early as mid-February in some areas. The Pinot Noir shows great color, sugar acid balance and flavor. We can taste the concentration of flavors and are thrilled with the quality of these young wines.

NAPA VALLEY
Marcus Notaro, winemaker, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Although bud break in Napa Valley was early this year, it’s been a cooler season. We didn’t get the normal high heat in July and August, which provided for a longer hang time for the grapes. Overall, quality is high and particularly at our FAY and S.L.V. estate vineyards, where we are harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes ripened uniformly and, while yields are a bit lower than normal, the flavors are great. The harvest has been smooth and progressed from varietal to varietal. For the whites, the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are crisp and allow you to taste the coolness of the season. It’s been interesting that the grapes—from the cooler Coombsville area up to the warmer parts of St. Helena—are ripening at the same time.

SAN LUIS OBISPO/PASO ROBLES
Jason Diefenderfer, director of winemaking, Treana Winery

The 2016 vintage started off with respectable weather through bloom and set. Our first bit of 100-degree weather came during the sizing phase which effected berry growth on many of our varietals. In September, the ripening was lengthened with the hot and cool temperature swings. These fluctuations caused some varietals to ripen earlier, while Cabernet reached maturity within the last week of September.

SANTA BARBARA
Wes Hagen, brand ambassador, raconteur, J. Wilkes Wines, Turn Key Wine Brands

As of Sept. 30, Santa Barbara County was more than half picked-out, yields are slightly lower than average and quality seems strong to excellent. Pinot noir is nearly all harvested, and yields have been mostly around two tons per acre. The extended hang time has produced the darkest color I've seen in Pinot Noir since 2010. The young wines show intense ruby color, good extract and dense blueberry and blackberry fruit with excellent grip, acidity and a “sauvage” character. I expect the 2016 vintage of Chardonnay will show excellent consistency, cut, balance and flavor. The Santa Barbara County vintage can be described as long and cool with a heat spike in September that helped define the harvest window and the quality. The color, quality and depth of the 2016 vintage were strongly impacted by the cool July and August that the county enjoyed.

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
Bill Cooper, winemaker and sales, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards

In the midst of nearly normal winter rains, much of the Santa Cruz Mountains experienced a warm January that advanced bud break. A cool summer then delayed harvest to give vines a long hang time and ideal phenological ripeness, at sugar and acidity levels that are expected to produce balanced and age-worthy wines. Ben Cooper, assistant winemaker at Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards in Saratoga, added that “yields are almost back to normal after the drought. We brought in seven varieties, nicely spaced through the harvest, all with long hang times and excellent fruit development.”

Valeta Massey, owner & assistant winemaker, Clos de la Tech
Our Pinot harvest will be about 25 percent of normal due to rain during flowering, but the quality is excellent.

Jim Schultze, proprietor/winemaker, Windy Oaks Winery and Vineyards
Overall, quality is excellent, with fully developed clusters and even ripening.

SIERRA FOOTHILLS
Chaim Gur-Arieh, Ph.D., winemaker/proprietor, C.G. Di Arie Vineyard and Winery

The 2016 harvest lasted three weeks—from Sept. 7-28—and had the highest yield in six years, 34 percent higher than 2015. In general, harvest was very short and intense with exceptional quality. In my experience, the quality in the last six years has not varied very much, with the exception of 2011 which was cooler and took a longer time for the fruit to ripen. Judging from what I see now, 2016 will be known as an outstanding vintage year.

SONOMA COUNTY
Paul Ahvenainen, director of winemaking, F. Korbel & Bros.

The 2016 sparkling wine harvest for Korbel started early and went by quickly. Statewide, we started on July 29 and ended just 43 days later. In the lower Russian River Valley, the harvest was even more compact, with Pinot Noir starting on Aug. 9, and Chardonnay finishing 24 days later. Overall quality and balance seem to be quite good.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA/TEMECULA
Les Linkogle, owner/winemaker, Briar Rose Winery

This year’s harvest in Temecula Valley was unusual, because a heat wave brought extreme temperatures in the triple digits just weeks before harvest. The heat brought intense flavor to the fruit and in some cases a slightly early harvest. Due to the unexpected prolonged heat and good defoliating, many wineries experienced sunburned grapes. Every vineyard was affected to some extent, resulting in a loss of yield that ranged from 30 to 50 percent. However, the fruit that survived the heat was harvested and is exceptional in quality. Wines from this appellation and vintage year will be stellar.


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Explore Paso Robles & San Luis Obispo on a California Wines Road Trip

October 12, 2016

Wine Institute Series Offers Tips on How to Sip, Stay and Play in Wine Country

SLO&Paso California Wines Road Trip 2016

 

SAN FRANCISCO—California’s beautiful wine regions offer a wide variety of wines and experiences to enjoy and are a key reason that many travelers choose the Golden State as a vacation destination. To help visitors learn more, Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trip series highlights different wine country destinations. This month take a trip to San Luis Obispo County, home to the renowned Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo wine regions, which continue to garner accolades, particularly for blends of Rhône, Bordeaux, and heritage Zinfandels, as well as Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and aromatic whites.

Located on California’s iconic Central Coast and home to the world-famous Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo County contains 13 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs)—11 in Paso Robles to the north and two in San Luis Obispo to the south. These regions are part of the Central Coast AVA, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

SIP: Well over 230 wineries call San Luis Obispo County home, like most California wineries, a majority are family-owned, small producers. This means that the owner is often the winemaker, and can be found in the tasting room pouring for visitors. Browse this list of Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo wineries or use the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens, picnic areas, food for purchase, concerts, art and more. A wonderful way to explore these regions is through their wine trails. Paso Robles boasts nine wine trails while San Luis Obispo offers six to explore. Visitors looking for ocean views can check out the wine trails of Pacific Coast, Avila Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley, while urbanites can savor wineries along downtown Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. Many wine festivals take place throughout the year, including Harvest Wine Weekend (Oct. 14-16) and the Harvest on the Coast Festival (Nov. 4-6).

STAY: Wine enthusiasts can sleep among the vines at several Paso Robles wineries, offering an unusually immersive experience. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance recommends various accommodations. The historic Paso Robles Inn offers winery-themed spa rooms. For those looking to stay in Edna Valley or Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association recommends these hotels.

PLAY: Visitors can enjoy a variety of wine and beach towns, such as Paso Robles—named the 2016 Best Wine Country Town by Sunset magazine and featuring a variety of wine and olive oil tasting rooms, sophisticated eateries and fun boutiques. Heading west out of town is the enjoyable Highway 46 West wine trail, which runs to the coast and lies just south of the world-famous Hearst Castle, where the Kitchen & Cottages Tour includes an insider’s peek at William Randolph Hearst’s expansive wine cellar. Further south on the coast is Avila Beach and its wine tasting rooms and Pismo Beach, both known for their beautiful beaches, surfing and seafood restaurants. Pismo Beach also has a celebrated farmer’s market, one of many in the county. Just 10 minutes inland from Pismo is the college town of San Luis Obispo, home to the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Bubblegum Alley and hip cafes.

MAKE: Agritourism is a big part of San Luis Obispo County’s appeal. FARMstead ED promotes locally grown and made products through pop-up events, getting people out to the farms, ranches and production facilities where food is produced. Guests can take part in hands-on classes in a variety of locations, as well as tours and demonstrations. Pop-up stores sell the goods necessary for guests to do-it-themselves at home. Learn how to make infused oils, vinegar, beverages and salts at the Holiday Infusions workshop Nov. 20. Chef Brigit Binns, author of 28 best-selling cookbooks, teaches guests cooking and entertaining skills with local products along with wine tasting at her Refugio Kitchen classes.

GROW: The region’s diverse soil types (30 in Paso Robles alone), varying topography and microclimates produce nearly 50 winegrape varieties. With clear sunny days and cool ocean breezes filtering through the coastal range, Paso Robles has one of the widest day-night temperature swings of any region in California. While many varieties are grown in Paso, the conditions are particularly ideal for growing bold red grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and heritage Zinfandel. The San Luis Obispo wine region occupies the cooler south county—the seafront side of the coastal mountain range—with vineyards on average just five miles from the Pacific Ocean. The focus here is on cool-climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and aromatic whites.

EAT: No visit to San Luis Obispo County would be complete without enjoying the Central Coast’s signature food—Santa Maria Style Barbecue—where tri-tip is seasoned with a dry rub and cooked over red oak for a uniquely delicious experience. With so many miles of coastline, seafood abounds, which is celebrated at the Annual Pismo Beach Clam Festival each October, scheduled this year for Oct. 21-23. Another regional delicacy is olives, enjoyed in olive oil tasting rooms and the Annual Paso Robles Olive Festival held each June.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,600 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.


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Explore Santa Barbara on a California Wines Road Trip

September 29, 2016

Wine Institute Series Offers Tips on How to Sip, Stay and
Play in Wine Country

Santa Barbara County California Wines Road Trip 2016

 

SAN FRANCISCO—California's beautiful wine regions offer a wide variety of wines and experiences to enjoy and are a key reason  that many travelers choose the Golden State as a vacation destination. To help visitors learn more, Wine Institute's California Wines Road Trip series highlights different regions. This month, take a trip to Santa Barbara County, a
region with a 200-plus year history that was put in the spotlight by the indie hit film, Sideways, and travel magazines worldwide. Santa Barbara's "mountains meet the sea" picture-postcard geography produces diverse microclimates, making it possible for winegrowers to grow dozens of winegrape varieties – especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Santa Barbara County contains six American Viticultural Areas (AVA) and is part of the larger Central Coast AVA. Located about 90 miles north of Los Angeles, this wine region hugs the Pacific coastline and visitors can enjoy sun, scenery, excellent restaurants, boutique shops, art galleries and outdoor activities as they explore the region's wineries.

SIP: Nearly 200 wineries call Santa Barbara County home. Browse this list of Santa Barbara County wineries or use the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens, picnic areas, food for purchase, concerts, art and more. The Santa Barbara County Vintners Association also features an in-depth wine country touring guide and two-for-one tasting passes for purchase online, as well as free tasting route maps to nine wine trails. These include downtown Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone urban wine trail, a dining, nightlife and arts scene where entertainment in the waterfront district is within walking distance of more than two dozen tasting rooms. Movie buffs can follow in Miles’ and Jack’s footsteps along the Sideways Wine Trail. Other wonderful wine routes include the Santa Ynez Wine Trail and Foxen Canyon Wine Trail—with beautiful estate wineries—and the town of Los Olivos, boasting 20-plus tasting rooms as well as charming shops and artisanal eats.

STAY: Those looking to stay in the Santa Barbara County wine region can choose from charming inns in the historic Danish town of Solvang or upscale boutique hotels in downtown Santa Barbara to luxurious beach resorts. Notable wine-centric hotels include Bacara Resort and Spa, The Landsby and Santa Ynez Valley Marriott.

PLAY: One "must see" is Old Mission Santa Barbara, a picturesque mission where wine was originally made by Franciscan monks two centuries ago. The site, considered one of California's grandest missions, is the 10th of 21 built along the state's "mission trail" and features a museum, docent-led tours and 12 acres of gardens. Stearns Wharf offers seaside restaurants, a fishing shop, old-fashioned candy store, wine tasting and shops, close to the beach where visitors can surf, play volleyball, rent bicycles, paddleboard and more. Or visit the historic Danish village of Solvang, known for its authentic architecture and bakeries, the latter of which you can explore on the Sweet Treats Trail. Sip and stroll along the Solvang Wine Walk to get a full taste of the town.

MAKE: A fun experience is Santa Barbara's Market Forays, where every Saturday attendees shop for seasonal local ingredients with a chef and learn how to use them to easily create delicious meals paired with local wines. Creative wine consumers can sip and paint at The Painted Cabernet, an urban studio on State Street where an artist gives one-on-one instruction while guests enjoy local wines. Learn to make great food and wine photos while consuming the subject matter with the Eat This, Shoot That! Tour.

GROW: Santa Barbara County's geography and climate is unique because of its transverse mountain range that runs east to west rather than north to south. Many of the vineyards sit open-mouthed to the Pacific Ocean. This maritime climate sweeps into the western part of the county with a daily influx of fog and cold ocean wind, while inland brings more sun and warmer temperatures. These diverse microclimates produce more than 50 winegrape varieties, from Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the west to Bordeaux and Rhone grapes in the warmer east.

EAT: Santa Barbara serves up a good portion of farmer’s markets, celebrity chef restaurants, and wine and food events. In October, visitors can partake in the Celebration of Harvest, where nearly 150 wineries pour at the Santa Inés Mission in Solvang and food purveyors and winemaker dinners abound. See the best throughout October in local cuisine, libations and culture. Other standouts include the Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend in April and the California Lemon Festival in September.

Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,600 wineries that produce 85 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org.


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MEDIA CONTACTS:
Wine Institute Communications Dept.
415/356-7525
communications@wineinstitute.org