According to a information released Monday by Governor Bob McDonnell sales of Virginia wine reached an all-time high in fiscal year 2012. Virginia wineries sold almost 485,000 cases of wine in 2012 versus a little more than 477,000, the previous record high, in 2011.
Virginia ranks fifth in the nation for number of wineries and for wine grape production, and Wine Enthusiast magazine named Virginia as one of the 10 best wine travel destinations for 2012.
Sales of Virginia wines have averaged just over 8 percent growth per year over the last three fiscal years. In addition, the Virginia Wine Marketing Office reports that Virginia wineries sold more wine out of state, directly or through a wholesale distributor, and internationally in 2012.
Export sales of Virginia wines grew by more than 300%, increasing from about 700 cases in 2011 to more than 3,300 in 2012. A significant portion of these international sales were driven by new sales to China and the United Kingdom, two areas where the McDonnell administration has focused its global marketing and export growth strategic plans.
A ceremony to commemorate the first of 1,200 cases of Virginia wine exported to China was held on Aug. 20 at the Winery at La Grange in Haymarket, Va. The Chinese wine market is a $10 billion industry, and is projected to reach $14 billion in 2013. In terms of volume, in 2011 China became the world’s fifthlargest wine consumption country. The U.S. currently ranks sixth among countries exporting wine to China, behind France, Australia, Italy, Chile, and Spain.
In September, Virginia grew its number of official wine growing regions to seven, with the official designation of the Middleburg AVA by the U.S. Treasury Department.
More information on visiting Virginia wine regions and wineries was well as a calendar of wine events and festivals, is available from the Virginia Wine Marketing Office.