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Price point critical to survival during recession

Is the wine industry recession-proof?

Yes, as long as you're at the right price point. So says John Buehler, the vintner behind our wine of the week winner, the Buehler, 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at $28.

"It's been our business model to offer really great wines at affordable prices and I can't think of a better time to offer it," Buehler said.

The Buehler bottling is 100 percent cabernet, 70 percent from the valley floor, with 30 mountain fruit. The winery is at the base of Howell Mountain, east of St. Helena.

How did Buehler wind up in the wine industry? He joked, "My dad needed a tax shelter and I needed a career 36 years ago."

But on a serious note, he said, "I always had agrarian tendencies. I always wanted to grow grapes and grape growing evolved into winemaking."

Another tasty pick is the 4-star rated Freemark Abbey, 2003 Sycamore Napa Valley Cabernet.

To get a peek at the winery's vault, check out our wine video at www.pressdemocrat.com.

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