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California Wine Market Expands for Premium Brands

Premium wine market is growing faster than other market segments

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California water conservation in wine country

Premium wines are increasingly associated with organic field production, if not organic fermentation. People are more concerned with flavor and the impact of their passion on the air they breathe and the water they drink. And consumers are learning that organic farming methods help protect the foods and beverages they consumer, but also protect the overall health of their communities.

The California wine industry is growing and changing amidst a global revolution in grape growing, wine production, wine marketing and consumer tastes.

In a comprehensive overview of the California wine industry published in the University of California's California Agriculture journal, UC researchers report that California accounted for roughly 90 percent of the value of U.S. wine production in 2006, while U.S. per capita wine consumption and the quality of wine consumed continued to rise. In 2007, U.S. wine revenue was an estimated $14.6 billion, up from $5.6 billion in 1995.

At the same time, the proportion of ultra-premium wine (more than $14 per bottle) consumed in the United States increased from 11 percent in 1995 to 32 percent in 2006.

California grape growers continue to receive a wide range of prices for their crop, from $300 per ton in the San Joaquin Valley (where half of California grapes are grown), to more than $3,000 per ton in the Napa Valley.

Wine Exports

U.S. wine exports have increased dramatically, from 144 million liters in 1995 to nearly 400 million liters in 2006; the top importing nations are the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.

In California, the largest wineries have long accounted for most of the state's wine shipments, and they continue to expand with respect to volume and number of labels. While small wineries sell most of their wine directly to end-users, many midsized California wineries face challenges in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

To read the full article, go to For more information, contact UC Davis agricultural economist Rachael Goodhue at (530) 754-7812, .

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources programs aim to help Californians make money

The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources serves every Californian with research on food production, nutrition, consumer sciences and youth development. Following is a sampling of efforts that have a direct impact on the money in California residents' bank accounts.

RESOURCE: UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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