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February 2009

The effects of the recession continue to be felt by charity wine auctions. The annual Naples Florida Winter Wine Festival and auction held the weekend of February 6th-8th, sold 65 lots in a live auction for $5.06 million, a 64% decrease from last year when 14 million was the total. Organizers said considering the state of the economy they were still happy with the results.
Money raised at the event goes to the Naples Children and Education Fund which supports local children’s charities. The auction was started nine years ago and has raised $74 million for charities since its inception.
Global Wine auctions were down a reported $25 million in 2008. With the Naples auction an early in the year event, the results suggest potential trouble ahead for the 2009 season.

A Los Angeles Times article reports the smaller grape harvest in the fall of 2008 may help the state’s winemakers. A government report states the amount of fruit harvested was down 6%. The drop in grapes harvested was caused by an early season frost, and sparse rain during the growing season last year that should keep inventories down and reduce pressure on wineries to slash prices. The state’s wine industry is already struggling with slow sales caused by the recession, and won’t have to deal with a glut of grapes from last year’s harvest. Most analysts believe California’s wine industry will experience modest growth at best this year and large inventories during a recession tend to hurt pricing.

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