California Grapes International (CGI), a provider of full service export, marketing, promotions, distribution and sales for the CA Wine Industry, in partnership with the US Commerce Department, has completed the United Arab Emirates (UAE) trade mission and started preparing to ship its first orders.

Under the trade mission, CGI represented around 25 CA wineries and 73 CA wines, which were accepted by traders, consumers, importers and distributors of UAE.

Based on the trade mission’s outcome, CGI has finalised its orders for first three customers and now plans to ship the orders by August 2012.

The first three customers are the US Embassy, Abu Dhabi National Hotel Group and The National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels (NCT&H).

Abu Dhabi National Hotel Group has a chain of luxury hotels including the Hiltons, Le Meridien, Sheraton and the upcoming Ritz Carlton, operates six retail wine and spirits stores and provides distribution and import services, whereas NCT&H has several retail sales outlets that are looking to expand their stock of CA Wines.

CGI CEO Jeffrey Crittenden said the UAE market is driven by an expat economy.

"The opportunities in this market go far beyond the UAE itself and truly make this a strategically desirable location for CGI to be located," Crittenden added.

"Wine sales in the UAE have flourished for many years and the available CA Wines are limited to say the least.

"With the support from the US Foreign Agencies and their commitment to develop stronger trade channels, we are looking forward to the future of CGI in the UAE."