American Wine Industry News: Wine & Grape Symposium, Napa Valley Awards & Tasting Room Expansions

Wine sales in the United States rose by two percent in 2015, with shipments reaching an estimated record high of 383 million cases. This despite strong competition from importers buoyed by the strong performance of the US dollar, which makes foreign wines a bargain purchase.

This shows the country’s wine industry is bearing fruits, despite several challenges. Here, we take a look at the current state of the industry, from the grape growing, to wine marketing.

2016 Starts with Wine and Grape Symposium

The 2016 Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, California was the 22nd of such gathering to take place. This year’s event was attended by over 13,800 participants, who spent a week attending various seminars and visiting vendors to gain perspective on the top trends and processes about everything winemaking. This includes wine lifestyle, wine business cycles, marketing, grape-growing, winemaking, and opportunities to taste high quality and diversified labels from across the US and the world.

The Symposium discussed several key trends in the US wine industry. In 2015, wine production in America increased two percent year-over-year, to a total production of 266 million cases.  In addition, wine imports also went up by 6% year on year, which translates to over 96 million cases of wine imported from around the world.  The largest wine and grape industry trade show also talked about some of the processes in winemaking, particularly the bottling and preparation, in which the importance of wine logistics was amplified.

The discussion covered the natural elements surrounding wine, from the initial bottling, to storage and final consumption. These external factors raise major concerns when not properly completed, especially when it concerns collectible wine labels. Wine storage services, such as those offered by Singapore Wine Vault, allow wine storage in technologically advanced vaults that preserve the drinks. For some individuals and businesses, their wine collections are sort of an investment; these storage services help safeguard the wine portfolios.

From Student to Award-Winning in Napa Valley

The Napa Valley College, in the heart of wine country, participated in the Symposium, sharing their studies and programs to improve the industry. The institution has developed a viticulture and winery technology instructional program that allows students to produce wines straight from the grapes grown on six acres located at the college.

Since 1984, the college’s wine program has provided courses in viticulture, winemaking, marketing, wine logistics, and sales. Most recently, however, students have gone even further and made wines that have earned prestigious awards.

The student-produced wines include a 2013 Pinot Noir that won double-gold ratings at the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition in the most recent year. In addition to earning top honours with the Pinot Noir, the students also received awards for their 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, earning a Gold Medal at the Baja International Wine Competition as well as a Third-Place Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. 

The students emphasised the importance of the wine cellar and production teams working together to ensure the highest quality possible in the wines produced.  Beyond producing wines for competition and learning, the wine developed by students in Napa Valley may also be available for retail.

Tasting Room Expansions in Washington State

One of America’s top emerging regions for wine lifestyle is Washington State.  More than the growing number of wine enthusiasts, the local legislature is also offering a helping hand to local wine businesses. The State Legislature is currently reviewing a bill that would allow wineries to have as much as four off-site wine tasting rooms. This would improve wine sales, consumption, and marketing throughout the state.

Currently, wineries in Washington can only have up to two off-site tasting rooms.

From supporting the availability of additional tasting options, to students developing a taste for wines and winemaking, the US wine industry certainly looks to be sparkling, with many fruitful years ahead.