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California crisis means great value for the consumer: Beringer

The crisis in California is a great opportunity for consumers, US winemaker Mark Beringer has said.

Speaking last night at the inaugural dinner of the Fine Wine 2010 conference in Aranda de Duero in Spain, Beringer, head of winemaking at Artesa Vineyards, said consumers will benefit from the discounting taking place in the region.

‘There is great value coming out of California at the moment. With less wine being made at the premium level, the top wines are moving down through the pyramid and becoming more affordable.´

‘Pricing is a real issue in Napa as there isn´t much middle ground. The top wines aren´t selling – I’ve had to discount like everyone else. The biggest challenge at the moment is to stay in business. Family-run wineries and independents have been hit hard.´

The crisis has brought a corresponding rise in quality as winemakers become ‘even more selective’, Beringer said: ‘Reserve wines are truly reserve quality’.

Beringer, formerly director of winemaking at Duckhorn, is the great-grandson of Jacob Beringer, co-founder of the venerable Napa winery.

Artesa Vineyards, owned by the Codorniu group, is a Carneros-based winery specialising in ultra premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, from Alexander Valley, Carneros, Atlas Peak and Napa Valley.

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Written by Lucy Shaw in Ribera del Duero

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