“China, China, China” has become the mantra of wine marketing hopefuls across the West, and China’s import market, although past the “first-in-the-door” stage has foreign imports jockeying for position. With surging import numbers over the last five years and a population of 1.3 billion, US wine makers are getting serious about getting their flag in the ground. According the Wine Institute, China was a $74 million market for California wine in 2012, up 18 percent from 2011. The Chinese market is growing more lucrative each year and U.S. exporters are counting on China to continue reaching for the wine bottle — California style. Increasing sales will depend on California’s commitment to standing out from European wines that have been winning loyal customers over the past years of market development.
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