The value of U.S. wine exports to China, including the Chinese mainland, China's Hong Kong and Taiwan, rose by 10 percent last year, figures released Monday showed.
According to the Wine Institute, a California-based trade association of 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses, the export value to China jumped to over 210 million U.S. dollars in 2017 driven by China's economic growth.
Christopher Beros, trade director for China and Pacific Rim of the Wine Institute, said that China is not only the largest country in the world in terms of population, but also has a rapidly growing middle class which travels abroad and adopts Western tastes and lifestyle preferences.
"Consumption of imported wine has increased 2.5 times in the last five years on the Chinese mainland," Beros said. "We expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future."
The good trend in the market of the Chinese mainland is paying dividends to wine exporters with the total value of U.S. wine exports rising 3.5 percent in 2017, according to the Just Drink website that provides information for wine businesses.
For the world, the figures showed that U.S. wine exports reached 1.53 billion dollars in revenue and 380 million liters in 2017.
California wine exports, accounting for 97 percent of the United States, were down 5.5 percent in value and 7.9 percent in volume due in part to the strong dollar, heavily-subsidized foreign wine producers and competitors forging free trade agreements in key markets, the Wine Institute said.
In value terms, Canada remains the top market for California wines, while the Chinese mainland is ranked fifth.