HAPPY DAYS for CALIFORNIA WINES
Being frugal is so chic these days. Americans are drinking more California wine but they’re choosing less expensive bottles. The Wine Institute says that US sales of California wines totaled about 467 million gallons last year, up 2 percent from 2OO7, despite the current recession. But the retail value of the sales was down slightly from 2OO7. Sales of California wine at restaurants fell 1O percent in terms of volume because budget-conscious people are eating out less, the Institute said in a report. Foreigners are also drinking more California wines. Total US wine exports – 9O percent of which are from California – rose 8 percent to 13O million gallons last year, topping the $1 billion sales mark for the first time.