Napa wine reps will accompany Governor Brown on China trip


Brown has predicted billions of dollars in investments and exports because of this trip and people representing tourism, Hollywood studios and even California agriculture will be part of his delegation. California wines will also play an important role.

When Brown makes his first trade trip to China, California wines will play a central role at all the dinner events planned. Napa and Sonoma wines have been recognized as among the best in the world, but in China they're still relatively unknown.

"They know all sorts of things about California. They don't know, by and large, that we actually make wine and we're the fourth largest wine producing region in the world," said Linsey Gallagher from the California Wine Institute.

To Chinese consumers, California is quickly recognized as the home of the Golden Gate Bridge, Disneyland and movie studios. All of these signature industries will be part of the governor's delegation of more than 100 people who will be traveling with him to several cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. And for Wine Country, it's another chance to make further inroads there.

"It's a really high growth market, there is an emerging middle class there. They're starting to be able to afford watches and purses and other luxury items and we want to make sure that California wine is part of that luxury consideration set," said Gallagher.

Many Chinese tourists discover California wines when they visit, but Wine Country has a lot of growing to do in China. That's because two other countries dominate the market there now.

"That would be France, number one, and Australia, number two. The rest of the wine producing world is sort of in a pack, trying to catch up. France has been active in the China market for a very long time," said Gallagher.

A series of lunches and formal dinners will be part of this trip, some serving as many as 500 people at a time, so hundreds of cases of California wine are right now being shipped to China to accommodate those events.

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