California wine pops cork on new record


“It’s a celebration / Clap, clap, bravo / Lobster and shrimp and a glass of moscato.”

If you happen to hear tunes by Drake and Trey Songz thumping out of tasting rooms around the state, it’s just California winemakers  thanking the hip hoppers for another year of record sales.

Sales of California wine within the United States grew by 5.6 percent in 2011, crushing the old revenue record revenue with a $19 billion haul.

California’s international wine sales also increased at a similar rate, with vintners making an effort to offer wines from all flavor and price spectrums.

Many in the wine business credit the growth in sales to several key strategies like unpretentious packaging, mobile apps for buying wine, and an increase in states allowing direct-to-consumer sales.

Even restaurant wine sales have started making a comeback, with value-orientated labels leading the way.

The most popular wines in the United States are still Chardonnay with 21 percent of U.S. sales, and Cabernet Sauvignon with 12 percent.

The most surprising jump in market share came from Muscat/Moscato, which reached nearly a 4 percent market share with 73 percent growth in sales.

The rise in Moscato sales can be traced to a shout out from Drake on Trey Songz’ track titled “I Invented Sex.” Booze sales can often influenced by rap artists’ favorite tastes. Unfortunately, the Drake rhyme for the sake of lyrical laziness has people mistakenly pairing lobster and shrimp with the now-hip dessert wine.

Overall California controlled a 61 percent share of the U.S. wine market in 2011 and 90 percent of the export market.

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