Wine Institute hosted a group of 12 trade and media guests from Japan on an educational tour throughout California's Wine Country in mid-September.

The group traveled to Santa Barbara, Paso Robles, Monterey, Livermore, Napa and Sonoma, visiting 12 wineries and meeting with five regional associations during their stay.

Japan is the fourth-largest wine export market for the U.S./California with $111.3 million in export sales in 2012.

Bringing in key wine buyers and media from throughout the world — Europe, Canada, Asia and Latin America — to experience California's wine regions is one of the key components of Wine Institute's wine export promotion. Last year, the International Department hosted more than 200 trade and media guests on 26 similar tours.

Compiled by Cathy Bussewitz. Submit items to