One of the best descriptions about what's happening in California came from Bloomberg reporter Dan Levy, which makes for a nice followup to Monday's post about the wine market and how much it has changed since the fall of 2008.
Levy has all the numbers in one place and he has the right experts discussing the changes and what they mean:
• The dollar value of U.S. retail wine sales dropped 3.3 percent in 2009 after rising every year and almost tripling from 1991 through 2008. Though consumption increased 1.9 percent, that didn't make up for the fact that U.S. consumers are abandoning wine that costs more than $15 a bottle.
• Sales of wine priced more than $15 declined 10 percent last year, and wine that cost more than $30 fell at least 15 percent.
• More than 30 wineries are for sale in California, Oregon and Washington, the most ever. But properties aren't selling because owners are reluctant to accept the low offers they are getting. Land values in Napa Valley, home to about 400 producers, have fallen 15 percent from the 2007 peak.
Levy also has this gem of a quote: "We went in like blind fools," said one woman who hasn't made a mortgage payment on her Napa property in more than a year. "We didn’t really expect to get the loan, but felt committed when we did."