Boosted by soaring double-digit sales increases in China U.S. wine exports hit a record 1.4 billion liters in 2012, up 2.6 percent from 2011 and the third straight annual increase, the San Francisco-based Wine Institute said Thursday. Chinese customers continued clamoring particularly for California labels which account for 90 percent of US international wine sales.They have managed to do well due to rising demand, improved marketing and trade agreements. “We’ve seen a big demand,” David Gates, vice president of vineyard operations at Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino, Calif., told The Associated Press. “And as demand has picked up, we pushed a little harder into the more developing markets, the biggest one being China.” The increased middle class of Chinese wine drinkers are keen on learning to enjoy sophisticated and high quality international products. The ‘American Dream’ influence is proving to be a draw, and interest in USA stars and culture such as The Oscars is at an all time high. “Our global campaign supporting our California wine exports communicates California as an aspirational place,” said Linsey Gallagher, international marketing director at the Wine Institute.