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April 2008 - - Chianti Classico

A Featured Chianti Classico Article

Get Ready for Higher Prices for Your Favorite California Wines

Get ready for higher priced higher quality boutique type wines from the California wine producing regions.

No region of the world has impacted the world of wine in the past half century than California.

While legendary European wines and winemakers have shaped wine history throughout history, the Golden State has undergone sweeping improvements in both quality and reputation like no other winemaking region.

Considering that Prohibition dragged California's wine industry to its knees just 70 years ago, the status of the California wine industry at the forefront of the world wide Wine world is truly amazing.

But Prohibition was sort of a blessing in disguise. Once the ban on alcoholic beverages had been lifted, California vintners reinvented their products and their wineries, ripping out vines used for sacramental and bulk/jug wines in favor of the "noble' grape varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and others. These grapes are the same varietals as those used in Bordeaux, Burgundy and beyond.

The rest as they say is history.

California wines often embody the "New World" style: a food friendly balance of complexity, intense flavors and approachability. Most California reds (as well as a decent portion of the California whites tend to be intense, fruit forward wines ages in oak.

A warmer daytime climate than their European counterparts is often offset by cool nights fuelled by the ocean breezes.

As a result, the wines of California often embody a combination of finesse and power, delivered to wine drinkers is user friendly packaging.

It is the rarely complicated labels and powerful promotion of California wine that has spearheaded their remarkable emergence in the wine industry. Many small European chateaus cannot be bothered to appease the average North American wine drinker, the bread and butter of New World wineries.

However, certain premium California has developed a cult like status fuelled by stratospheric ratings, and a supportive press. Boutique wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma County keep production to a relatively small 1,000 cases or less resulting in a small supply for a demand that has been fueled by promotion and mystique. The result is higher pricing strategies.

Wineries like Napa Valley's Screaming Eagle and Sonoma County's Shafer are the crown jewels for those wines collectors with seemingly unlimited resources. Potential buyers can wait years, just to get on winery mailing lists so they can be informed when the new vintage is ready, often these cult wines sell by mail order and at the winery source only.

Realizing that the demand for premium California wines outweighs the available supply, many big name winemakers making value priced reds and whites are focusing much of their time and energy on higher end ventures with smaller grapes yields, lower production and more bottle and oak aging.

Thus the die is set. Get ready for higher value added California wines.

The money bet is there.

There will be less available supply of lower priced standard California wines and an ever increasing focus on higher quality, value added products in relatively small supplies.

Get ready for higher priced higher quality boutique type wines from your favorite California wine regions.

About the Author

Amy Goodmann
Fortuna Website

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