Representatives of the San Francisco-based Wine Institute have hailed the passage of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, saying it will benefit U.S. wines.

The trade pact immediately repeals the 15 percent tariff on U.S. wines imported by Korea, according to a news release.

The European Union entered into a similar free trade agreement with Korea in July.

Elimination of tariffs on U.S. wine will allow U.S. wines to be more competitive with those from Chile and the EU.

In addition, the trade agreement repeals the 45 percent tariff on U.S. grape juice concentrate.

Korea is a significant market for U.S. wine exports, and particularly wineries in California comprising 90 percent of those exports.

In 2010, 500,000 cases of wine valued at $11.2 million in winery revenues were exported to Korea.

Consumption of imported wines in Korea has grown 177 percent during the past decade.