Sobering news: California wine sales down

The wine industry received sobering news this week: California wine shipments dropped in 2009 for the first time in 16 years. Analyst Jon Fredrikson says wine consumption is up 2.1 percent nationally, but consumers are turning to cheaper imports to tantalize their palates.

Figures show that sales appear to be down for all wines that cost more than $15 a bottle, while sales for wine less than $6 increased 5 percent last year. Cheap bulk wine imports from countries such as Australia, Chile and Argentina jumped 87 percent in 2009 to capture 32 percent of the U.S. market.

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