Right now about 250 California wine brands are being swirled, sniffed and sipped at the Vinexpo Asia Pacific trade show in Hong Kong, which runs through Thursday. The trade show attracts vital sippers — more than 15,000 key trade visitors in Asia.

The export market has become in a word — “irresistible” — to California vintners. Here are stats that are turning their heads: Total U.S. wine exports, 90% from California, hit a record $1.39 billion in 2011, up 22% compared to the previous year.  Hong Kong remained California’s third largest export market by value after the European Union and Canada, and revenues reached $163 million, up 39%.

After making a splash at the trade show, those representing 100 brands will visit Shanghai, Wuhan and Beijing the first week in June.

It seems like everyone is making tracks in Asia right now. I have a French friend who is in China now working as a consultant for two French chateaus. Competing for the Asian sipper is, clearly, fierce.