Wine Institute President joined Governor Brown’s trade mission to Mexico City this week to help spur sales of California wines in its sixth largest export market. U.S. wine exports to Mexico, 90% from the Golden State, reached $21.5 million in 2013, up 21% from the previous year, accounting for 2% of the state’s record $1.5 billion wine exports.
“Mexico represents an excellent opportunity for increased sales of California wine on both sides of the border,” said Bobby Koch. “We have a 52% share of Mexican tourists to the U.S. and our diverse wine, food and culinary experiences are a key attraction that they can relive at home with a glass of California wine. Californians and other Americans traveling to Mexico’s cities and resorts also enjoy finding their favorite California wines on lists there.”
Golden State wines, along with an array of California-grown fruit, nuts, berries and other ingredients, were showcased at a special “Taste of California” reception and dinner at The Four Seasons Mexico City on Tuesday evening, July 29, hosted by Wine Institute, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and Visit California, the organization that promotes travel to California. Attended by 200 American and Mexican government officials, dignitaries, business leaders and media, the event featured a welcome toast by Governor Brown, a live painting performance by artist David Garibaldi and an introduction to the three-course food and wine pairing menu by Wine Institute Chairman Carolyn Wente of Wente Vineyards and Four Seasons Chef Edgar Cano.
“California’s first vineyards were planted in the late 18th century by Franciscan fathers who traveled from Mexico to establish missions up and down the state,” said Carolyn Wente, “so our wine connections have deep roots. The wines served tonight from regions around the state express the diversity and exceptional quality of what California wine has to offer today. We invite you to visit and experience them at their source.”
California wine sales to Mexico declined for several years as a result of a punitive retaliatory NAFTA-related tariff increase on California wines in 2009 (trucking dispute) and a weak economic cycle and Mexican Peso. The state’s wine sales have been steadily rebuilding to 2008 levels since Mexico’s full repeal of the tariff in October 2011. During this period, Wine Institute continued to make the Mexican market a priority by investing in tasting events and in-market promotions and hosting visitors in California. As a result, California wines are well positioned for growth.
Wine Institute is the trade association representing nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses with members that account for 95 percent of California wine production and 85 percent of U.S wine production. Since 1985, Wine Institute’s International Department has served as administrator of the California wine export programs for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Based in San Francisco, with offices in Sacramento, Washington, D.C., six regions across the U.S. and 15 foreign countries, the organization also partners with Visit California to promote the state’s wine and food offering around the world.