Boosted by escalating demand from Asian imbibers, U.S. and California wine exports for the first 11 months of last year have broken the previous record for all of 2010.
The California Wine Institute was so excited with the growth in the value and size of shipments that it announced the achievement Wednesday, instead of waiting to release the full 2011 year-end statistics later this year.
California grape growers, wineries and exporters account for 9 out of every 10 bottles of U.S. wine sold overseas, the San Francisco-based wine institute said.
Wine export sales from January to November 2011 reached $1.3 billion, up 23% in value compared with the same period in 2010. Volume increased by 6%. The value of exports for all of 2010 was $1.1. billion, the institute reported.