Winebits 95: The High-end wine is in trouble roundup

? High-end wineries face ?fundamental change ?: Here ?s the view from the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa,, in the heart of California ?s $20 and up wine country: ?Inventories at high-end wineries are building. Wine club memberships are being canceled as consumers lose their jobs or cut back expenses. ? Grape growers are watching prices plunge 30 or even 40 percent compared to last year's record prices. Sonoma pinot noir that sold for $2,800 a ton last year might today sell for $1,800, according to brokers. ? And an increasing number of wineries and vineyards are going on the block. ?

? It must be bad if Forbes says so: The high finance magazine says ?The slumping economy has left distributors scrambling to sell high-end bottles at cut-rate prices–but you need to click quickly. ? The Wine Curmudgeon isn ?t sure there is much advice there for those of us who are looking for $15 wine marked down to $8, but if you need a bottle of $250 2003 Chateau de Valandraud. it ?s apparently available for $80.

? Wine auction receipts slump: The Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction raised $500,000 this year, about two-thirds of last year's take of $702,500. Last year, the auction and a companion event combined for $1.57 million for Sonoma County charities; this year, the total was about $600,000. ?It's a difficult climate to do fundraising events, ? said one of the organizers.

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