There are some plusses about the dollar being stuck in the toilet - among them the export opportunities for California wine. The U.S. sold nearly $1 billion worth of wine last year, a 9 percent increase from 2006 (California wineries make up 95 percent of the U.S. wine sold abroad). The only trouble is that imports totaled $4.7 billion. The U.S. remains the most lucrative market in the world for wine. Still, the export increase is worth watching. From the LAT:
"Exports help keep our grape production in line with consumption and mean better prices for growers," said Dennis Atkinson, vice president of agriculture for Tejon Ranch Co., based in Lebec, Calif. About half of U.S. wine exports are shipped to the European Union, accounting for $474 million, followed by Canada, $234 million; Japan, $63 million; Switzerland, $26 million; and Mexico, $24 million. It is the Far East where California wineries are seeing the fastest growth. Sales to South Korea rose 60% to $18 million. Exports to China soared 74% to $16 million.