U.S. wine exports, 90 percent from California, reached a new record of $1.39 billion in winery revenues in 2011, an increase of 21.7 percent compared to 2010. Volume shipments were up 5.8 percent to 455.7 million liters or 50.6 million nine-liter cases.

"The quality, diversity and value of California wines have propelled us to another record year for wine exports," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute president and CEO. "Our success in removing trade barriers and opening new markets as well as significant marketing investments by our wineries will allow us to reach our goal of $2 billion in exports by 2020."

"Our global Discover California Wines campaign with its link to California's iconic and aspirational lifestyle resonates with consumers, media and trade throughout the world," said Linsey Gallagher, Wine Institute's International marketing director. "We have significantly increased our focus on and investment in the China market over the past year in this top priority market. Our goal is to connect the lifestyle that is associated with our state with the understanding of California as a world class wine producing region."

"Wine Institute's work with the U.S. government and key international organizations such as the World Wine Trade Group, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and FIVS continues to have a valuable impact in facilitating trade. Export growth in 2011, however, reinforces the need to continue eliminating unreasonable trade barriers, particularly in the Pacific Rim where wineries are burdened by protectionist tariffs and duplicative regulations costing Asia-Pacific economies close to $1 billion per year," said Wine Institute's International Trade Policy Director Tom LaFaille.

Thirty-four percent of U.S. wine exports by value were shipped to the 27-member countries of the European Union, accounting for $478 million of the revenues, up 10 percent from 2010. Volume shipments to the EU reached 28 million cases in 2011, edging up 1.4 percent from the previous year. Other top markets were: Canada, $379 million, up 23 percent; Hong Kong, $163 million, up 39 percent; Japan, $105 million, up 39 percent; and China, $62 million, up 42 percent.