People Are Buying Expensive California Wine Again

"Pass me that gallon of Gallo!"

Throughout the Great Recession, California wineries have struggled to sell higher end product while the majority of Americans got accustomed to finding decent bottles at Trader Joe's for $15 or less. That all has changed according to Bloomberg and several speakers at a Napa conference last week. For the first year since 2008, consumers are buying up bottles in the $20 and up range — so far in 2012 there's been a fourteen percent bump in high-end wine sales over last year — which is fueling a boom in real estate deals for wineries, and which is putting a smile back on the faces of California winemakers who were getting tired of ceding market share to Australia and South America. "We are in a healthy rebound mode," says Napa insider Mario Zepponi. We still like our good wine to be cheap, however. [Bloomberg, Napa Valley Register]