Explanation of Californian Wine Appellations – Part 1

We have been receiving frequent inquiries from importers whom are trying to understand all the nitty-gritties of Californian wine so as to make the highest return on their investment. As a result of this, we have gone all the way to create a series of post that will answer all questions we have been asked about Californian wine appellations.

californian wine appellations

Californian Wine Appellation: Frequently Asked Questions

Just like most other nations of the world, understanding wine labeling laws in the United States, is quite a daunting task. We will like to begin with some of these laws here, especially those that bother on Californian Wine Appellation. Wine Appellation: What does it mean in the United States?

An appellation is basically the name of the area of a certain region where wine grapes are grown, and can be used on the labels of wine. Appellation name attached to the label of wine by the producer, allows consumers to ascertain the quality of the wine they are buying. As countries’ wine laws differ, so do their systems for appellations. For instance, two factors are considered in defining the appellation of wines: viticultural and geographic political boundaries. Geographic appellation could be the state where grapes used in the making of the wine are produced. California for instance is a very common appellation used on wine labels. Other than a state, counties can also be used as a geographic appellation. Sonoma and Napa are the most popular counties. Cali Beverage Group specializes in exporting Californian wines to India from all appellations within the state of California.

Viticultural appellations are defined by the boundaries of the region where wine grapes are grown. Typical examples in California include:

  • Napa Valley: A region in Napa County where quality grapes are grown
  • North Coast: An area in California than encompasses Sonoma and Napa counties
  • Carneros: A region with blossoming agriculture that includes part of Napa and Sonoma Counties

Otherwise known as American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), Viticultural Appellations can be compared with France’s AOCs or DOCs in Italy.

It is important to note that American AVA is never the same as geographic appellation. This is why it is important to have sound knowledge of both entities. In subsequent FAQs, we will thoroughly break down AVA.

Do appellations have anything to do with marketing?

It depends on the angle you are coming from. Appellations on wine labels are supposed to provide a consumer with information about the wine. Napa Valley for instance is a very well-known wine appellation. No region in the entire United States grows varieties of Bordelaise grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot like the Napa Valley. Some of the United States’ most prized wines come from this area. However, Pinot Noir does not do well there.

Also, Alexander Valley which shares boundary with Napa Valley, and close to Sonoma County, produces the same kind of wine grapes as Napa Valley. Even though the two regions grapes are very similar, Napa Valley is more popular. When there is little knowledge of wines from California among consumers, there will be differences in marketing value.

I do hope that you found all that was shared here very insightful. In subsequent articles, I will get straight to the business of the day; quality and market values of some appellations.

Importing Bulk Wine to India

Cali Beverage Group has recently begun projects with a few India-based importers looking to import bulk Californian wine to India.  There are grumblings that import tariffs may come down for wines from the EU, but it is just talk, and as of today it is very costly to import wines with national import duties holding at 150%. Bulk wines are still the safest, most cost effective way to get quality Californian wines and this article will educate you on how to import Californian bulk wine into India.

import wine to india

Steps to Importing Californian Bulk Wine to India

1) Determine your budget and what types of wines you want
2) Find a contract bottling facility or build your own
3) Hire a designer to design your label or hire us to design your label
4) Register your label with the proper government agencies
5) Locate a distributor, if you need one, to sell your wines
6) Contact Cali Beverage Group to purchase your wine
7) Receive your duty paid wines, bottle, label and sell to your customers

In future posts we will dive into the details of the steps above – I know, they seem pretty basic – but for now, you have an idea of what to expect when importing Californian bulk wine to India. The remainder of this article discusses why importing bulk wine is the way to go.

Safety of Wine Cargo

Shipping completed bulk wines from the United States is a tried and true process. In the old days, wineries used second-hand dairy tankers as shipping vessels, but as the demand for wine transport services has boomed, so have the number of options. Today there is an entire logistics industry dedicated only to the safe transport of wine.

Some large scale operations use bladders in excess of 20,000 liters each to transport bulk wines. At Cali Beverage Group, we specialize in smaller projects and find that the best choice for our projects are 330 gallon EZ Totes. These workhorses are well constructed, rigid, and the perfect size to be stacked on a pallet. The convenient size of these totes makes LTL (less than truckload) shipments simple and cost effective. LTL shipments means that you can save money by shipping your cargo in the same container as other cargo, and you do not need to commission an entire 20 foot container for your shipment.

FACT: With each one of these EZ Totes, you can import enough bulk wine to bottle approximately 135 cases of wine.

So Why Import Bulk Wine?

Import duties are assessed on COST, INSURANCE, FREIGHT. By shipping un-bottled bulk wine, you are saving on cost, which also saves on insurance. Also, by shipping your wine in a lightweight EZ Tote, you’re saving on shipping costs because glass and packaging for bottled wine quickly adds significant weight.

A little more on cost savings: quality wine bottles, corks, and foils can cost upwards of $1.00 per bottle for materials, plus additional monies for labor – and cases themselves are costly. By sending bulk wine, you can lower invoice cost by almost $2,000 USD by buying a 330 gallon tote versus importing a comparable lot of 135 finished cases. Just on the cost piece alone, you can save $3,500 in tariffs (tariff = 150% CIF).

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