In the ancient world, the Romans knew "there is truth in wine," as the Latin phrase in vino veritas translates. In the modern world, there is also major money in it.
Shipments of wine to the United States last year (from all producers anywhere including domestic ones) retailed at an estimated $36.3 billion dollars, according to Wine Institute. Americans spent $50 million on wine at one shop alone: Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spritis in New York City, according to the company. The store -- celebrating its 80th birthday -- has earned awards including "Retailer of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast, and the "No. 1 Wine Shop in America" by Forbes.
We talked to CEO Chris Adams in the video above about the wine business. He says it started like most other wine stores at the time - as a liquor store. The founder Sam Aaron and his friend James Beard (yes that James Beard), started going to Europe to discover wines, and bringing them back to sell. At the time, Adams says it took "a lot of effort" to convince people to trade that case of gin for wine. Fast forward and a wine trend that really "started in the 90s and continues today," has become the focus of the store and a good business for them.
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While the wine business has its roots in Europe, last year California wines alone accounted for 64 percent of wine sales in the U.S. So have high-end wine consumers really started embracing "new world" wines? Adams says there's "no question" about it. While traditionally Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne were the focus for fine wine lovers, over last 20 years new regions have emerged, "notably California, which is producing some of the world's highest caliber wines and has been for many years."
Adams tells us they are finding the 2012/2013 California vintages are not only high in quality, but producers are making a lot of it. That will lead to an opportunity for consumers in coming years to explore a lot of price points in addition to the opportunity to taste some of the best wines.
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