Are California Wines Too Pricey for Recession Drinking?

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For the first time in sixteen years, sales of California wines dropped in 2009, despite the fact that everyone is boozing it up more overall. New figures show that CA wineries shipped four million fewer cases last year than they did in 2008, The Cellarist reports. About three-quarters of those losses were in exports, and far fewer people in general were buying wines above a $20 price point, even though wine consumption is up two percent.

"People just scaled down buying patterns," says wine industry expert Jon Frederickson, adding that cheaper bottles sold well, such as those in the $9 to $12 range made by larger operations like Sterling and Cupcake Vineyards. Smaller producers and all those overpriced Napa Cabernet-makers were hit hardest, since Trader Joe's has now opened our minds and palates to the decent cheap bottles we can get from France, Australia, and Argentina. Newsflash, winemakers: That Opus One bullshit only flies during giddy, spendy times.

Why California Wines Aren't Selling [The Cellarist]