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California may still export nearly a billion dollars worth of wine each year but the state’s international wine business was hit hard by the global recession. Sales to key markets such as the EU slid more than 20 per cent in 2009, while exports to Canada – California’s second-largest customer – were down more than 7 per cent.

Yet, while economic uncertainty may prevail in the West, California wines are finding new consumers across Asia. Indeed, just as exports to mature markets were faltering, wine fans in Japan, Hong Kong and especially mainland…



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