FOOD Americans drinking more California wine, paying less

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Americans are drinking more California wine, but they’re choosing less expensive bottles.

The Wine Institute says that U.S. sales of California wines totaled about 467 million gallons last year, up 2 percent from 2007, despite the country’s deep recession. But the retail value of the sales was down slightly from 2007.

Sales of California wine at restaurants fell 10 percent in terms of volume because budget-conscious people are eating out less, the institute said in a report.

Foreigners are also drinking more California wines. Total U.S. wine exports — 90 percent of which are from California — rose 8 percent to 130 million gallons last year, topping the $1 billion sales mark for the first time.

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