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America might be suffering the effects of recession, but we didn't see much evidence of that on our 800 mile trek over the Thanksgiving holiday. Despite traveling during off times, Highways 395, 58, and 99 remained crowded with motorhomes and rigs hauling all manner of toyboxes and trailers stuffed with OHV's.
Highway cognitive dissonance notwithstanding, we're all feeling market jitters and it comes with little surprise that high end wine consumers are watching their wallets too. The only segment of the wine market that shows brisk growth are affordable wines costing less than nine dollars US. That seems intuitive.
Sales of wine for $9 or less make up the fastest-growing segment of the wine
market and sales above that price are starting to trend down, said Jon
Fredrikson, a Woodside, Calif., industry analyst.
Consumers are trading
down to wine they consider "values," Fredrikson said.
In most years, store manager Diana Hirst considers herself lucky if she can snag
six bottles of $265 Araujo Napa Valley cult Cabernet Sauvignon to stock in her
Costa Mesa wine shop.
This year she can get dozens -- a sign of how the
Wall Street meltdown is rippling across the alluvial fields of Napa Valley to
the chalky limestone vineyards of Champagne in France.
All of this may be good news for wine consumers. As demand shifts to less expensive wines, that downward pressure will have a consumer-friendly effect on mid-priced wines as it already has with expensive wines.