While the slowdown at home may be obvious to anyone taking Napa and Sonoma wine country tours, the United States’ exports of wine surpassed the billion dollar mark with 2008 sales, ninety percent of which came from within California, even though all fifty states produce some level. The exports have increased annually for the past fifteen years and America now ranks as the fourth largest wine producer in the world and makes six percent of the world’s wine.
Half of the wine exported from the U.S. goes to the European Union, increasing nine percent since the prior year, and the wine trade agreement between the two countries which serves to reduce tariffs and subsidies, has made that possible since its implementation three years ago. Many U.S. wineries have taken to shipping bulk wine overseas and bottling the product closer to its destination in order to cut costs and increase their margins.
While the world-wide economic downturn has begun to show its influence in the European wine industry, California wines have managed to prosper in the E.U. last year. The California wine industry seems to be amongst the best suited world-wide to weather the economy and make gains while other countries have lost their footing. California wines last year advanced substantially in the U.K., Germany, and Poland against France’s long-held dominance of those countries.