California-based Wente Vineyards is celebrating the reduction of 15% tariffs on imports and exports of American wines to Korea under the US-Korea free trade agreement signed on 15 March 2012.

With Koreans showing more interest in consuming international wines, the reduction in tariff will help American wineries compete with Chilean and European wineries that share similar trade agreements with Korea.

US wineries have reported over $11m in revenues from Korea in 2011.

Wine exports are expected to increase at least 25% over the next few years.

Wente Vineyards international sales vice president Michael Parr said American wines are readily accepted in Korea based on agreeable taste profiles, relatively easy labels to decipher and a familiarity with American lifestyles due to the number of Koreans that have traveled or studied in the US.

"The new Free Trade Agreement will only increase their thirst for American products that will now be available to them at more affordable prices," Parr said.

Korea is the only Asian country to have signed free trade agreements with two major markets – the US and the European Union.

For many years, California was the second major exporter of wines to Korea, behind France. However, Chile overtook California after signing a trade agreement with Korea in 2005.

To celebrate the occasion, Wente Vineyards Restaurant executive chef Matt Greco will visit Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Seoul on 4 May 2012 and share his culinary expertise alongside sipping a fine glass of California wine with citizens of Seoul.

Wente Family Estates has been exporting wines around the world for over 30 years in major markets like Canada, Europe, Asia, Caribbean and South America.