Governor McDonnell Announces Wine Export Agreement between Barboursville Vineyards and Tianjin Tewoo Group
– Deal Results from Governor's Trade and Marketing Mission to Asia; Believed to be First Commercial Shipment of Virginia Wine to China –
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that Barboursville Vineyards and the Tianjin Tewoo Group have reached an agreement to export Barboursville wines to China. The deal, a result of the Governor's trade and marketing mission to Asia in May where seven Virginia wineries were highlighted, is believed to be the first commercial transaction between a Virginia winery and a Chinese importer. First Lady Maureen McDonnell served as the symbolic official witness to the contract executed between Barboursville and the Tianjin Tewoo Group.
Speaking about the agreement, Governor McDonnell said, "I am pleased that my administration's discussions with the Tianjin Tewoo Group before, during, and after our Asian trade mission this spring has lead to this new export opportunity for Barboursville. Virginia wines are recognized as being world class, and I am positive that this deal will continue to raise the domestic and international profiles of our wine industry, increase tourism to our wineries, and lead to more sales opportunities for Barboursville and our other outstanding wineries."
The Tianjin Tewoo Group is the 53rd largest company in China. Tewoo is formerly the Department of Materials and Infrastructure in the city of Tienjin. Today the company is engaged in variety of businesses, including automotive, recycled metal & plastics, minerals, commercial real estate, energy. The Tianjin Tewoo Group has more than 200 companies in its portfolio and employs more than 5000 people including operations in the United States. In 2010, sales reached $23 billion (USD), with a total profit of more than $82 million dollars according to the company.
Speaking on behalf of Tewoo Chairman Ge Denglong, Michael Zhang, the President of Tewoo USA said, "We are pleased to be making this initial investment in Virginia, the producer of some of the world's finest wines. We also would like to thank Governor McDonnell and the Department of Business Assistance for working with us leading to this initial transaction. We look forward to working closely with the McDonnell administration in the future as we continue to examine other economic development opportunities in Virginia."
Barboursville, which is also exporting wine to the United Kingdom, is one of Virginia's largest wineries. It is located on the farmland of James Barbour, the 18th governor of Virginia, in Orange County. The vineyard and winery were founded in 1976 by Gianni and Silvana Zonin, the Italy-based owners of Barboursville who attended the contract signing ceremony. The Zonin family heads the largest private grape growing and winemaking company in Italy.
"As Barboursville reflects to celebrate its 35th anniversary in Virginia, I can think of no better way to look toward the future than expanding our sales into China, one of the world's largest wine import markets," said Luca Paschina, Barboursville's Winemaker and General Manager. "I want to thank Governor McDonnell and his entire administration for their efforts in promoting Virginia wines both here and abroad. This export deal would not have happened without their assistance and the trade mission in May."
"Today marks another step forward in the Governor's goal to help the Virginia wine industry expand its presence in regional, domestic, and global marketplaces," said Todd P. Haymore, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. "I commend Barboursville for its vision to look beyond our borders to help grow the Virginia wine industry's increasingly sterling reputation. I also want to thank Commerce and Trade Secretary Jim Cheng and his team for bringing the Tianjin Tewoo Group to Virginia and their work, along with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office staff, in helping close this export deal."
Virginia is the nation's fifth largest wine producer and seventh largest wine grape producer. According to the most recent economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs approximately 3,000 people and contributes almost $350 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis. The study reflected the impact of 120 wineries in 2005; today, there are nearly 200 farm wineries in the state. A new economic impact study is planned for fiscal year 2012.
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