Yesterday, the LA Times had an interesting article about California wine shipments being down in 2009 for the first time in 16 years. See the story here: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-winedrop29-2010jan29,0,4062055.story
Wine consumption was up 2.1% in 2009 in the US, which is a remarkable achievement considering that 2009 was one of the worst years economically in the past twenty or thirty years. So it is obvious that people want to continue to drink wine, but California wine shipments fell by 4%, or almost 4 million cases.
It appears consumers are shifting focus to better “value” wines from “overseas wine makers”, specifically Argentina, Chile and Australia. Wine imports to the US from those countries increased an incredible 87% last year.
Here at the WineCollective, we search for unique and interesting wines without a geographical bias, so we continually look at where the best value and most unique wines are being created. I think it is fair to say, we have been enjoying a fair amount of quality wine from South America and Australia recently and if these trends continue, we will continue to do so. While this may be bad news for California wine producers, an increase in choice is never a bad thing for avid wine consumers!