The Washington Times - August 2, 2011, 02:49PM

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s overseas sojourn to Asia in May has borne fruit in the way of a partnership between the Tianjin Tewoo Group and Barboursville Vineyards, his office announced Tuesday.

“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,” said Mr. McDonnell, a Republican. “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.”

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It is believed to be the first commercial transaction between a Virginia winery and a Chinese importer.

The Virginia wine industry contributes nearly $350 million to the state’s economy every year, according to the most recent impact study, conducted in 2005. The study reflects the impact of 120 wineries in the state and there are now nearly 200. A new study is planned for fiscal 2012.

Mr. McDonnell, first lady Maureen McDonnell, and a number of Cabinet officials took an 11-day jaunt to Japan, China and South Korea in May to promote Virginia products and seek foreign investment. The trip also resulted in Virginia’s opening a new trade office in Shanghai. Mr. McDonnell had previously said that the trip resulted in about six business agreements and some deals with Virginia ports.