Headshot of Tony Lima

Cal State East Bay Economics Professor and wine industry expert Tony Lima (Photo: Tony Lima)

How the recession has impacted wine sales, CSUEB economics prof explains

  • March 4, 2013 5:00am

The recession has impacted the nation’s overall workforce and the economy at large, but how has the U.S.  wine industry fared?  John Kiernan at CardHub.com spoke to Cal State East Bay Economics Professor and wine industry expert Tony Lima who said the recession has had surprisingly minimal impact on the wine industry as a whole. Read article.

“Wine drinkers tend to like wine,” said Lima.  I’ve heard the arguments in the past that people will switch from beer and wine to vodka because it’s cheaper to get a good high that way.  I think a lot of wine drinkers drink it because they like it.  In terms of the number of gallons purchased per household per year, I don’t think that changes very much with the business cycle.” 

What has impacted the wine business is the industry’s current  three-tier system of producers, distributors and retailers which has been in effect since the passage of the 21st Amendment and federal government regulations on how exactly to define wine in terms of alcohol by volume, how to tax it, and how to ultimately control distribution.    As a result, large companies that efficiently distribute large quantities of wine have now come to dominate the market.

Lima has published extensively on the wine industry, including an article on Ernest Gallo in the Journal of Wine Economics, “Ernest Gallo, 1909–2007: A Life in Wine (Fall 2007) (PDF).  He also runs CaliforniaWineFan.com, a site focused on Pinot Noir tastings, travels and economics.


California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 14,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.

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