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Despite economy, California wineries posted huge 2011 sales

Despite a sluggish economy, California wineries last year posted their biggest increase in shipments in a decade and could soon face a shortage of some popular varietals that will drive up prices.

From the Press-Democrat:

Despite a sluggish economy, California wineries last year posted their biggest increase in shipments in a decade and could soon face a shortage of some popular varietals that will drive up prices, experts said Wednesday.

Many wineries, however, still find it difficult to raise prices on store shelves, even as their suppliers boost prices for grapes and bulk wine.

California wine shipments rose about 5 percent in 2011, reaching about 210 million cases, analyst Jon Fredrikson said Wednesday at the 18th annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, the largest wine industry conference in the United States.

“By far the most growth we've seen in a decade or more,” Fredrikson said. “And especially considering the conditions, it was a very strong market.”

Price discounting, brands designed to cater to the nation's sweet tooth, and unpretentious labeling all contributed to the industry's growth, said Fredrikson, president of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, a wine industry consulting firm based in Woodside.

For more, see: 2011 a vintage year for sales of California wine

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