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November 29, 2023
Wine Institute’s Global Buyers Marketplace asserted itself as the epicenter of international business for California wineries at its landmark Napa Valley gathering in early November.
Building from a ground-breaking inaugural year in 2022, this year’s event attracted elite buyers from over 30 countries and introduced more than 200 Golden State vintners to new markets from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia, while pioneering entry into untapped regions like Oman, the institute noted.
The conference highlighted the Global Buyers Marketplace’s objective to boost global recognition of California wines. Attendees represented over $10 billion in yearly wine sales, presenting a vital platform for brand development and industry networking.
“California has long been renowned for its exceptional wines. Our state creates the perfect conditions for grape cultivation, but the true success of our wine industry goes beyond our geography,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross.
“California growers and winemakers pride themselves on advancing sustainability practices and other innovation in the sector, which has helped drive strong global sales and contributes to the state’s overall export strength,” she said. “We have seen significant growth in California wine exports over the past two years and we are optimistic that important gatherings like GBM will help bring even more California wine to new markets overseas.”
“This event played a pivotal role in amplifying global recognition of California’s diverse wine portfolio,” said Honore Comfort, Wine Institute vice president of international marketing. “GBM is quickly becoming the go-to conference for both existing and emerging markets, attracting attention from countries like Bulgaria, Latvia, Ukraine and India — a testament to the global appeal of California’s wines.”
Added to this year’s robust itinerary was a session for California wineries entitled “The Future Uncorked: Real-time insights into tomorrow’s wine consumers.” This interactive panel was spearheaded by three of the world’s foremost experts on wine market dynamics including George Soleas, president and CEO of the LCBO; Barry Dick, MW, global beer, wine and spirits sourcing manager for UK firm Waitrose & Partners; and Raimonds Tomson of Latvia, who holds the title of Best Sommelier in the World 2023 from the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale.
Comfort, who moderated the session, explained, “This was more than a seminar; it was a strategic forecast for California wineries ready to innovate and capture new markets. Amidst evolving consumer landscapes, this session was a beacon for wineries seeking not just to navigate but to lead the change in the global wine industry.”
The panel highlighted pivotal consumer trends across diverse channels and markets, describing untapped opportunities, cutting-edge marketing strategies and sustainable practices vital for engaging the next generation of global wine enthusiasts.
GBM is a significant pillar in a 10-year strategy aimed at escalating exports of U.S. wine to more than $2.5 billion. Over the past two years, U.S. wine exports experienced 11% growth in value, totaling $1.46 billion in annual revenue, according to Wine Institute.
California, with the fifth-largest economy in the world, contributes 95% to U.S. wine exports, and is the world’s fourth-largest wine producer.
“The quality of attendees at the 2022 GBM exceeded our expectations,” said Sally Burton, vice president of international marketing at Jackson Family Wines. “The business impact had been so substantial that this year we doubled down on our commitment. We brought together our international sales forces from Canada, Europe and Asia and the discussions that took place have set a new benchmark for our business growth and strategy. There is no doubt that GBM plays a pivotal role in strengthening our global footprint.”
Source: Wine Institute
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