California wines have grabbed 85% of the U.S. “premium” market, or bottles priced $15 and up.
“Fifteen dollars is the new $10,” said Barbara Insel, managing director of MKF Research of St. Helena, Calif. “We used to go in a store and say, ‘I’ll only spend $10 for a wine for dinner.’ Now it’s $15.”
The state’s vintners are commanding higher prices because of agricultural advantages, said wine industry consultant Eileen Fredrikson of Gomberg Fredrikson Associates.
“More and more California winemakers are using sophisticated techniques, but what is really invaluable is the grapes we can grow here,” she said. “We have fabulous soil, we have a fabulous climate and we do not suffer the vicissitudes of weather that they can in, say, the Bordeaux region” in France.
From The Los Angeles Times.