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Oregon exports to the UK on the up

Published:  13 September, 2019

Exports of Oregon wine to the UK continued to rise last year in line with increased demand for wine from the state across the world.

Cases of Oregon wine exported to the UK rose to 11,200 in 2018 - up from 10,047 the previous year, while worldwide exports leaped to 104,477 cases compared to the 94,351 exported in 2017, according to the newly released 2018 Oregon Vineyard and Winery Report.

The increase in worldwide exports was driven by Canada, which accounts for 45% of export sales, with Canadians consuming 47,338 cases of Oregon wine.

Notable growth was seen in Scandinavian markets, with a 59% increase in wines exported to Denmark, and Asia to which 15,258 cases were exported boosted by increases in exports to Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea.

The “industry momentum” was due to the increasing recognition of Oregon’s “reputation for quality and consumers’ willingness to seek out and pay for exceptional wines”, said Tom Danowski, president of the Oregon Wine Board, which compiles the report.

“Visit any winery or vineyard now in the midst of harvest, and it’s easy to see the skills, experience and extra effort from winemakers, vineyard managers, growers, tasting room staff and everyone involved in the process of crafting Oregon wines,” he said.

The report also revealed the estimated value of Oregon’s wine grape crop topped the $200m mark for the first time, up 8.8% to $208m from $192m the previous year.

Oregon wine sales grew to $607m in 2018 from $550m in 2017 driven by a 19% increase in direct-to-consumer shipments, the report stated.

The number of vineyards increased from 1,144 to 1,165 and total planted acreage increased by nearly 2,000 acres from 33,996 to 35,972, an increase of 5.8%, with the highest growth rate in planted acreage seen in the Umpqua and Rogue valleys at 10%.

The overall number of wineries increased from 769 to 793 with the biggest increases coming from South Willamette Valley, which added 16, and the North Willamette Valley, which grew by 12.

In terms of grape varieties Pinot Noir, which accounts for 56% of all planted acreage, grew by 5% in 2018, while merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon increased in acreage by 26% and 25% respectively.

Syrah also made a large leap at 21%, and Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay continued their healthy ascents at 16% and 13% growth in planted acres, respectively, while Albariño, Gamay and Viognier plantings made it to the report's acreage charts for the first time.

Total planted acreage of wine grapes increased by almost 6%, nearly 2,000 acres, increasing from 33,996 to 35,972, with the highest growth rate in planted acreage last year seen in the Umpqua and Rogue valleys with 10% more acres of grapes planted this year over last.