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A Bottle of White, a Bottle of Red: U.S. Wineries Exports are Rosé
October 03, 2017 Elizabeth Thomas, Business Development Specialist, Office of Small Business

Sorry, Billy Joel. But here’s the good news. An April 7, 2016, article in  lists possible health benefits from drinking moderate amounts of wine including:

  • Reducing the risk of depression
  • Preventing some cancers
  • Raising levels of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Improving lung function, and, my personal favorite,
  • Promoting anti-aging

U.S.-based wineries are also promoting a healthy economy. reports that 2016 was a record year with $1.62 billion of winery revenues resulting from export sales to North America, Europe, and Asia. While the big names in wineries may be most recognizable, smaller wineries also play a vital role in exporting American wines worldwide. Here are three Washington state small businesses that are doing their part to spread cheer around the world:

Hedges Family Estate opened their cellars in 1987, exporting Columbia Valley Cabernet-Merlot to a buyer in Stockholm, Sweden. Remarkably, just three years later, the Cabernet-Merlot blend won a gold medal at the Seattle Enological Society, and Hedges Cellars cemented their place in the Washington viticultural industry. Today, Hedges' export business has grown from one customer in Sweden to customers in 35 countries.

The founders of L’Ecole No 41 were respected pioneers from the early days of Washington state’s wine industry when they opened the doors in 1983. Today, L’Ecole No 41 is a second generation, family-owned winery that has won numerous accolades and awards, including being honored fourteen consecutive years by Wine & Spirits Magazine as Winery of the Year, and being inducted into the Washington Wine Hall of Fame. L’Ecole No 41 now competes globally, exporting wines to customers in 20 countries.

In an August 3, 2017, Puget Sound Business Journal article, the co-owner of Betz Family Winery says he spends about 85 percent of his time at trade shows talking to prospective buyers about Washington state weather - “…it’s not all cold, wet and rainy…”  Betz Family Winery has also racked up awards with the 2009 Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon named Wine of the Year by Seattle Magazine (2012), and the 2010 vintage ranked 6th in the World in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Cellar Selections and rated 99 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Starting by exporting to one province in Canada six years ago, Betz Family winery now exports about eight percent of its wines to 15 countries, establishing the winery as a player in the global market.

In addition to being in Washington, these wineries all faced the same exporting challenge – offering "open account" credit terms to international buyers and making sure they got paid on the foreign receivables generated from these transactions. With the Export-Import Bank of the United States' (EXIM’s) export credit insurance for small businesses, all three companies compete globally confident in the knowledge that their international receivables are covered for nonpayment due to political and commercial risk. Cheers to that!

Whether it’s a Labor Day barbeque, picnic on a beach or dinner at that Italian restaurant, remember to toast the vintners that are helping to keep us, and our economy, happy and healthy.

Learn more about how your company can grow revenues through exporting while mitigating risk by reading about Export Credit Insurance and call your local EXIM representative for a no cost consultation today:

Get a Free Export Finance Consultation Today!