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This is a very difficult time for many wineries, seeing many wineries offerring huge discounts to generate cash. If you have a favorite or more than one favorite winery, support them. At some point, if the buyers do not support the supplier at a decent margin, the supplier will no longer be a good supplier and cease to exist, aka, your favorite winery.
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Thanks, Juicy, for the original post. I'm sure the sentiment is appreciated by all the vintners on the board.

Folks should follow and read Paul's link to the Stefania blog. He describes the situation fairly accurately.

2008-2009 was awful for folks at my price point and above. The number of direct customers fell, but the real carnage was in the wholesale channel. Stores and restaurants seemed to just stop buying wine. The outlets that stayed in business were living off inventory. I thought my distributors lost my phone number. That market has not picked up much for us. Occasionally I am asked about my percentage of direct to wholesale sales. I give what at first sounds like an attractive number. However, that lopsided figure is the result of wholesale disappearing. Not good.

Our regular, direct customers have been awesome. They have stuck with us and continue to spread the word. The situation now is that there just isn't enough of them and folks are hesitant these days to try something new at our price point. Basically, and the wine industry is not alone in this, the recession served to whack us all over the head and knock us down the mountain we were climbing by several years in brand/customer building. Those of us who have been able to survive financially just have to start again, and as Paul alluded to, at lower production levels.
Speaking as a middle-class enthusiastic wine consumer, I am very concerned about the future of California wineries. The price points for most boutique wineries are just too high for guys like me. I make a decent living, but with two small children and a mortgage, I simply cannot justify spending more than $40 for a single bottle of wine. Anything above $75 is out of the question for me, even for a 1-time, special occasion wine. So that wipes out a large number of Napa Cabs and Cali Pinots for me. I know that I'm not alone in this regard. Fortunately, there are some very good American red wines available at the under-$30 price point but there are far too many now that are well above that that will have trouble surviving, IMO. The root problem of the issue (in California at least), in my eyes, is that real estate is too expensive for vineyards. There is no way to produce grapes cheap enough to have significantly lower wine prices.
I would really like too, I have received some emails form people I have bought from in the past whose wine I like. One's wine prices are fair but their shipping was ridiculous for the few bottles I wanted to purchase. Another winery raised all their prices so I said forget it although I liked their wines they just were not worth the asking price.

I ended up with too much French and Italian wine so I am buying some new world/domestic for variety's sake but mainly from retail. I do want to put in an order with Leal and Hug though. I like the wines, consider them rewarding experiences and worth every penny.
I do get invites weekly from various trade groups in China to attend shows and events as do most wineries I'm sure. There's still a ton of 05, 06 and 07 out in the pipeline. So far the wineries I've seen hardest hit are those that were highly leveraged and overly creatively financed. When the cash calls came, there was no cash, and those were forced into sales.

I think we may never really know the full impact of the shake out. There were so many micro projects out there that just never got on the radar to even notice they are gone now.

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