At least one Lodi winery has already experienced the impact of the $3 billion in tariffs on 128 U.S. products — including wine, fruits and nuts — that China announced early in March as a response to $50 billion in tariffs on China proposed by President Donald Trump.
More trade drama could be ahead, as well.
China announced an additional $50 billion in tariffs on 106 products on Wednesday. Trump then responded Thursday by directing Treasury officials to consider an additional $100 billion in tariffs.
Joseph Lange, who works in the winery at LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards, explained that one shipment intended for China was canceled when the Chinese tariffs took effect earlier this week, and another shipment is currently on hold.
“We had one order for one of our high-end Zinfandels of about $3,500 — it’s a small order in the grand scheme of things, but it would have been the beginning of a great relationship — that was canceled a few days ago. There was a second order for a full container, which would be around 700 cases, in danger of being canceled. I’m negotiating with the importer about sharing the cost of the tariffs to begin doing business with them. I’m not sure as far as sharing the cost, but the importer said they would have to pay about $0.70 per bottle, so we’re talking about a few thousand dollars, incrementally,” Lange said.
Not every winery in Lodi has felt the squeeze, however. Klinker Brick Winery sent 10,000 bottles of Old Vine Zinfandel to China last week.
Joan Kautz, sales and marketing manager for Ironstone Winery, said that although they have done business with China for years, Ironstone is working with its Chinese importers to make sure the tariffs don’t harm their business relationship.
“Despite all of this going on, we have a lot of communication with Chinese importers and they still have a lot of interest in us and other brands. We hope this is for the short term and we can move on to business as usual,” Kautz said.
Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau, echoed Kautz’s hopes. Lodi has only recently broken into the Chinese market, he said, adding that the tariffs might affect other local exports such as fruits and nuts.
“To get that expansion was exciting, and to get these shipments canceled is pretty disappointing. We need to get these issues behind us so we can increase shipments to China, and so that doesn’t impact other industries,” Blodgett said.