Midnight on September 30th marked the conclusion of a tumultuous two-year Legislative session in California. Governor Brown spent the month of September sifting through hundreds of pieces of legislation delivered to his desk by the Legislature. Awaiting Brown’s signature were bills regulating everything from renewable energy, the bail industry, who should pay for wild fires, the #MeToo movement, consumer privacy protections, the opioid epidemic and much more. At the close of deadline, Governor Brown signed 1,016 bills into law and vetoed 201, for a total of 1,217 acted upon in 2018.
Bills signed by the governor will become law on January 1, 2019. Urgency, tax and budget-related measures go into effect immediately upon signature. During the interim, legislators will be back in the district until the legislature reconvenes on January 2nd, 2019. The new Legislature will be sworn in at the Capitol in December.
The Family and Stonebridge Research Group were awarded a $369,000 Emerging Market Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a road map on how to sell California fine wines in the Chinese market back in 2013. On September 15, 2015 the project received its second year of funding from the FAS for $430,666, for a near doubling of project activities.
The first focus for the project was the quality of importers with whom California's fine wine producers were partnering in China, as very few producers had satisfactory sales or payment experiences. There was initially a list of about 10 such importers, developed from the trade and from peer recommendations, with another 10 "up-and-coming." Most of these companies carried few if any California fine wines. However, in the last 18 months interest among quality importers has clearly grown. As the importers say, now that they are actually "selling wine to the people who actually drink it", they are finding that consumers are more adventurous and often prefer California wines when they try them. This trend is most evident in the most developed wine markets, such as Shanghai and Beijing. Even importers who have exclusively worked with top European producers are becoming interested in California and they have been coming to our classes, asking about winery contacts.
Thus, we are increasingly introducing producers to a variety of highly recommended importers with whom they have otherwise been unfamiliar and who do not tend to be the usual importer groups recommended by usual sources of export advice.
You can read more about the program here