Fine Wine Bubble Bursts in Bordeaux, Napa

$100 and up wine bottle a hard sell

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, May 7, 2009  |  Updated 2:00 PM PDT
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Fine Wine Bubble Bursts in Bordeaux, Napa

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The high-end wine business is in turmoil thanks to the global economic recession.

If you've switched from $20 bottles of wine to Two Buck Chuck recently, you can take some cold comfort in knowing that Vegas high-rollers are in the same pinch.

But that means that ultra-premium vintners in California are taking a hit, as the demand for three and four figure bottles of wine plummets.

Vegas restaurants, long-standing bastions of "I don't care what it costs as long as it sounds expensive" buying habits, are dumping their allocations of high-end wines like ballast water from an unstable ship.

As Wall Street traders cashed in on shady derivatives and subprime mortgages during the boom, wine regions worldwide invested heavily in slaking their gilded thirst.

Of course, many of the best wines will only improve as they age, so bottles collecting dust in wine cellars can wait a few years until the next upswing.

That's good news for collectors, but not necessarily producers. Any premium wines they produce in the next few seasons will have to compete with a surplus of their own products from before the recession.

Wine drinkers, at least those who still have jobs, might see some great deals on stratospherically priced vintages that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford, and a glut of grapes from around the world should mean cheaper prices on wine all around.

Jackson West figures if you're gonna be a hobo, might as well be a wino as well.

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