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Liz Thach
May 24, 2021 | Liz Thach

Forbes Magazine: Is California Sparkling Wine’s Pandemic-Induced Roller Coaster Ride Ending On A High In 2021?

The Future of California Sparkling Wine

So what is the future of California Sparkling wine? Will sales continue to grow, or will they flatten? Competition from Champagne and Prosecco is fierce, especially since both of these regions have large marketing associations that frequently reach out to wine buyers and consumers with compelling ads to purchase their wines. 

The California sparkling wine industry, however, does not have a marketing association to represent its producers. In the past, this was because there were not that many bubble houses. But according to CaliforniaChampagne.com, there are now around 150 sparkling wine producers in California.

The state also ships far more wine in the US compared to its competitors. According to a recent report by market research firm, Gomberg-Frederickson, California sparkling houses shipped an average of 11.8 million 9L cases per year, from 2016 to 2020. During the same period, Italy shipped an average of 8.5 million imported cases (primarily of Prosecco) to the US, while France only shipped an average of 3.5 million cases.

However, some producers are very positive about the future of California bubbles, and expect to see continued growth in the category, due to new trends and changes in consumer behavior. Joy Sterling, CEO of Iron Horse Vineyards in Sonoma County says: “The future of California bubbly is very bright. It is encouraging that more and more people are coming to see bubbly as a wine to be enjoyed on any and every occasion.”

Penny Gadd-Coster, Executive Director of Winemaking at Rack & Riddle, and head winemaker for the much touted Breathless Wines brand, reports, “I believe the future looks good for sparkling as people are looking for lower alcohol wines which sparkling inherently is.”

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