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Snooth User: Caroprese33

California Vineyards Face Difficult Times

Posted by Caroprese33, Mar 11, 2010.

This article does a good job informing us about the business of wine production in California. 

California wine-making country is on the decline and suffers from tighter margins.  There are quite a few wine-makers which were unable to weather the financial stress of 2008-2009 and are now defaulting, leading to distressed property values in the area.  I'm not very familiar with real-estate in California but I am well aware of the many other fiscal problems facing the state that are most likely worsening the situation.  Land values in the Napa region, along with wine prices in general, are down 15% and credit markets are dry.  I think it's an interesting read because my personal take on it is that, like most other asset classes, the market for wine has taken a hit but will most definitely recover.  Analysts say that a large part of the problem is that wine drinkers are no longer paying over $40 for a bottle of wine.

I'm interested to know which of you have noticed a change in your wine choices.  Do you still see yourself paying top-dollar for a bottle of wine, or are you doing some more homework on internet trying to find good wines at more affordable prices (for example, via the internet)?


Reply by jofallas, Mar 11, 2010.

I am definately looking for the bigger reds I am accustomed to drinking but for reduced prices. Just had a delicious Cabernet Savignon from Terra Blanca, 2005, found it at my local grocer. ($12.00)  Going back for more!  Also found a Hess Select 2005 Merlot in Hawaii Safeway for 50% off, ($7.00 total!). I rarely drink Merlot but this was gone before we knew it. I trust my stewards in person and buy from the shelf. Part of the experience is in the selection! The deals are out there and so far I've been lucky. So to answer your question, yes I have changed the way I buy wine. Try to be open about new choices and trust your instincts. I wish the industry the best of business in 2010. Interesting article and thanks for posting.

Reply by Jimmy Cocktail, Mar 11, 2010.

I was helping out at a wine boutiqe here in Northern Virginia for a while and the ower was telling me that he's had to reduce his stock of top end wines and bring in more in the $10 to $20 range. There is a lot of belt tightening going on still and expensive wines seems to be one of the places first taking a hit.

Reply by chadrich, Mar 11, 2010.

The online deals, especially over the past 2 months, have been unbelievable!  Here's my (probably obvious) advice to take advantage of the industry's misfortune:

Plug into as many email lists, forums, discussion boards, and groups as you can.

When you hear of a deal, be ready to do some very quick online research to make sure the deal is a good one and that it's for wine you think you'll like.

Be willing to try wine you haven't had yet.  Sure if you wait you may get 50% off that particular wine you know and love.  But you'll miss 20 deals on wine you might like as much or better while you're waiting.  Be willing to take some risk and adventure in exchange for the prospect of a great bargain and new discovery.

Live in a state that allows shipping (sadly you can't really control this one).


Reply by napagirl68, Mar 12, 2010.

I have had so many good deals.. it is sad.  I got the 2003 Juslyn Napa Estate Cab for 29.00;    1997(the year!) Big Horn Napa Estate Cab for 8.99,  2006 Imagine Sonoma county Chalk Hill Vineyards Chard (this one is really good) for 9.99, and recently, Murietta's Well (Livermore Valley, CA) Meritage for 7.99 

Unheard of deals.. buy, buy, buy!  Since I am in the SF bay area of CA I am central to these deals.  they are at my discount grocery stores.  Be wary, buy one and taste, then buy the rest ASAP cause it will go fast. 

Reply by zufrieden, Mar 12, 2010.

Of course, if you live in the outer fringes of North America (often known as Canada), you are used to being thoroughly stiffed on alcohol pricewise. However, I have found with the soaring Canadian dollar (about 98.2 cents US currently) that change is afoot - if only temporarily.  This coupled with the continuing recession woes has helped rescue the long-suffering wine imbibers in the Great White North.  I am now able to purchase European and US wines at quite significant discounts - up to 50%.  And you can be sure I am "buying into" that. 

For example, I am able to buy Pinot Noir from Oregon at about a 35% discount (for example, Domaine Drouhin) and some NV Champagnes at about 40% off.  I just bought a Jacquesson 732 at a significant discount and went for a case.

As long as you have independent means or a stable situation, life is definitely good for the drinkers.  I also include fine beers in this mix of buying opportunities.

Drink up with a clear conscience.


Reply by hhotdog, Mar 20, 2010.

i have heard that many low to mid-ranged labels are able to get better quality juice for for as much as 50-75% off the usual cost. thus making better quaility wine than what we are used to from such labels.  has anyone else heard any of this?  if this is true some very reasonably priced wines could now raise their quality to new highs for about the same price we are used to paying!!! all good for the consumers!!!

Reply by cigarman168, Mar 20, 2010.

When drinkg wines is geting more popular in a country, the compettion there will force the price to drop to much reasonable level. And nowadays, we can see the promotion of buy two get one or buy one get one wine bottles everywhere in HK.

Reply by amour, Mar 21, 2010.

The top of the wine market is crashing

and new enterprising individuals with entrepreneurial skills

are coming forward and turning the volumes of high end juice

into very affordable and tasty wines.

Some describe the 09 crash as a watershed.

One such is the well-known Matthew Bonanno who buys Napa Valley grapes for one thousand dollars  per ton!

In 2008, he would have paid 5 times!!

As bigger wineries suffered  mental trauma, he cooly expanded.


I have been reliably informed that we have not seen anything as yet !

The word is out that the wine market is not even close to being done falling, and for many ,including Negociants, this is great news.

Reply by amour, Mar 21, 2010.

Dominant players of the under $12. category are :





Bronco (Two-Buck Chuck)

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