Calif.'s North Coast wine industry in trouble

From the Santa Rosa, CA, Press-Democrat:

The North Coast wine industry, home to the highest concentration of high-end wineries and vineyards in the nation, is reeling from the impacts of a recession that has made it chic to drink cheap wine.

Few are immune from the sea change sweeping the industry, from ultra-luxury brands fetching over $100 a bottle to high-volume supermarket wines struggling to keep prices above $10 amid a flood of inexpensive imports and deeply discounted domestic wines.

"This is beyond a recession. This is a complete resetting of the clock," said Sebastopol winemaker Tim Olson (left), co-owner of the boutique Olson Ogden wine brand.

Falling wine prices have affected everything from the value of vineyard land, to how much money banks will lend wineries, to how much wineries will pay for grapes. Layoffs have hit even the strongest wineries, while the very viability of others is in doubt.

[Go here for the full story.]

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