Weekly TEOW: Washington Wine Goes to India!

Back in my days writing for the Prosperity Blog on Puget Sound economic development issues, I had a weekly featured called REDEW: the Random Economic Development Email of the Week. Whatever the most interesting economic development related email I received that week, I’d blog about it.

Welcome to a similar new feature here on the State of Trade blog: TEOW – the Trade Email of the Week. Weekly (or so), I’ll entertain and educate you with something unique, important and relevant to trade that pops through my inbox unexpectedly. This week’s inaugural feature? “Washington State wine industry launches first-ever promotional campaign in India!”

I’ve mentioned before that Washington wine is one of many exciting products in our state this is only beginning to tap its potential in international trade. There’s a couple of reasons why Washington wines aren’t already sold more throughout the world, but my guess is that the top two would likely be 1) that the wine industry in Washington is comparatively young and 2) that some of our local competitors (i.e.-California) have such significantly higher brand recognition around the world (despite the fact that our quality is as good if not better).

We spend a lot of time here on the State of Trade blog talking about policy barriers to trade, and certainly those matter a ton when it comes to making Washington products both attractive and competitive in foreign markets. For example, the South Korea free trade agreement that we’ve been advocating for would erase a 15 percent tariff on US wines.

But policy needs to be done in conjunction with good, old-fashioned business…like marketing and sales. Which is why the new Washington wines campaign in India is so exciting. According to the email I received from the Washington Wine Commission:

Winemakers from Washington State are set to kick off a marketing campaign in India early next month. India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country sometime in the next ten to fifteen years, and the wine market in India continues to grow. From September 5 to 9, winemakers will host a series of trade tastings and winemaker dinners in Mumbai and Delhi featuring more than 75 wines – the largest showcase of any single region to come to India this year. These free, invitation-only events will welcome many of India’s leading food and beverage professionals, hoteliers, restaurateurs, and importers.

Highly respected at home, Washington State winemakers are actively developing new markets for their products, hosting events in Canada, Japan, and Northern Europe. The upcoming campaign is the state’s first targeted specifically to India.

Chardonnay and curry, a match made in international trade heaven. (Especially a nice mango fish curry!) And by the way, in 2009 India was Washington’s 7th overall trading partner with $1.8 billion in exports, so there’s already a great relationship there to build on. Check out those Washington wine events in India here, and tune in next week for another exciting TEOW!

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