From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.
American wine producers are hoping to increase their sales in China, where the country’s growing middle class is drinking wine. The United States exported just 74 million dollars in wine to China last year. But exports are growing at a rate of nearly 20 percent a year. Two years ago, former basketball star Yao Ming launched a wine company called Yao Family Wines. It is based in California’s Napa Valley — one of the top wine producing areas in the world. Tom Hinde is with Yao Family Wines. He says the vineyard grows only Cabernet Sauvignon grapes because many people in China like red wine. The small winery makes a costly product. Its top cabernet sells for 625 dollars a bottle. Napa Valley’s Black Stallion Winery also looks to China as a promising market. Holly Evans works for the company. She says the company has two wines that are sold throughout the United States and also in China. Many moderately priced wines are exported to China. They include some from the San Antonio Winery in Los Angeles. Fifteen percent of its production goes to China.The Wine Institute represents more than 1,000 wineries and allied businesses through California. Spokesperson Linsey Gallagher says her group is always receiving requests from China. But she says the country is a problem for marketing. She says that, in China, it is not known that California is the fourth largest wine producing area in the world, producing many kinds of wine. Winemakers hope to expand the market for fine dry wines, including white wines, which are now a small part of the Chinese market.For VOA Learning English, I’m Alex Villarreal.