POSTED ON December 18, 2008 | IN Tasting Rooms, Wine News | BY Joe Becerra

More Economy Wine News

My latest Newsweek issue contains an article entitled “Toast to the Slump.” In the article Newsweek reports that sales of wines under $9 have increased 5.3 percent while premiums wine sales have declined 10 percent, all this according to a recent Nielson finding. The article also mentions that the wine consumer can find plenty of wine sales with more to come. The article is on page 62 of the December 22th issue of Newsweek.

I had to laugh at one sale item offered by Salvestrin Winery. The winery is having a wine sale based on the theme of The 12 Days of Christmas. Each day the winery offers something different for sale. On the Ninth Day, the sale included three of their wonderful wines and a half bag of their Estate grown walnuts, all for $89. That’s a first, wine and walnuts for sale together. If they had done a full bag of walnuts I may have gone for the deal.

Kirkland Ranch winery, located in the Jamieson Canyon area of Napa Valley, has been having financial difficulties for more than a year and has been on the auction block since November of this year. Apparently, in these troubled economic times there are no takers. A recent auction did not draw any bids over the minimum price of $22 million for the vineyard property or $26 million for the combined vineyards and winery. The Napa winery and its vineyards will continue to be up for sale.

No bankruptcy for Copia, as the courts have rejected its bid and Copia will not be able to restructure. There is no money to pay its staff. On December 5, Garry McGuire, the interim CEO resigned. Copia is officially dead.

But there is always optimism in the face of these trying economic times. Longtime Napa resident and friend Jim Vogt has this to say about the city of Napa after Copia’s demise. “The downtown waterfront area is being developed so beautifully with new bridges, a seawall and promenade, restored waterfront park and a huge brand new complex of shops, restaurants, commercial and residential properties called Riverfront. It is so sad that they will have to suffer through this recession before it can be rented and/or sold. Mark my words, Napa is going to really BOOM once the economy gets going again. All the right components are in place.”

Michael Chiarello Opens Bottega

The Bottega Restaurant opened on December 8th to a rousing crowd of wine and food celebs. It’s chancy opening a restaurant in these economic times but if anyone can pull it off its Michael Chiarello. He has much fame from his Food Network Show, the NapaStyle stores, cookbooks, and his stint as owner and chef at TraVigne. Read Michael’s Blog about the opening. What a kick! We wish we could have been part of the festivities.

Photo courtesy of Eileen Gordon

Photo courtesy of Eileen Gordon

Hess Collection Spending $30 million to Upgrade Napa Vineyards and Winery

If you have a lot of money as does Donald Hess, the bad economy doesn’t hurt that much. Donald Hess is moving along with his plans to spend $30 million for replanting vineyards and upgrading the winemaking facilities for his Hess Collection winery on Mount Veeder. Donald Hess also owns wineries in South Africa, Australia, and Argentina.