By James Atkinson

The U.S. Government is backing initiatives to increase exports of American wine to Australia, a market in which it believes the category is vastly unrepresented.

U.S. Consul General in Sydney, Niels Marquardt this week hosted a tasting of American wines imported to Australia by Vinsense, Negociants Australia, Beaune and Beyond and Pinot Now at his private residence in Double Bay.

He told TheShout that currently, just 0.2 per cent of wine imports to Australia come from the United States.

"You can find French, German, Spanish, Argentine and Chilean wine, and lots of NZ wine of course, so it wasn't a question of Australians being resistant to imports of wine," he said.

"Somehow, for historical reasons, it hasn't developed. With the shift in exchange rate, if price has been the obstacle, it no longer is. Even for entry level wines, we are competitive."

The tasting was predominately of Californian wines, with some representation from Oregon, which is winning acclaim for its Pinot Noir.

Marquardt said that currently there are just 40,000 cases of Californian wine being imported into Australia a year.

"We think we should be well over a million and it shouldn't take that many years to accomplish it," he said.

He said his favourite of all wines is Zinfandel, but it "barely exists" in Australia.

"You drink it in much the same way that you would a Shiraz, so it's certainly not a question that the niche is empty, but the Californian Zinfandels should be a sensation here," he said.

U.S. Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, said in a statement that the U.S. is only the ninth largest supplier of wine to Australia.

"With the extraordinary quality and variety of wines being produced in the U.S., now is the time to share them with wine-loving Australian consumers," Bleich said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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