The market for fine wines is at the beginning of a long-term growth phase, a trend that will benefit many North Coast wineries, according to a forecast issued Tuesday by Silicon Valley Bank.

Sales are expected to grow 7 to 11 percent in 2012. Bottle prices are expected to rise, but not to pre-recession levels, the report said.

Prices for grapes and bulk wine also will rise, and vineyard plantings will increase to deal with the looming grape shortage.

Imports will take a larger share of total domestic sales, said Rob McMillan, founder of Silicon Valley Bank's Wine Division.

"The biggest obstacles to growth and profitability for wine businesses over the next several years will be finding supply at the right price and quality," McMillan said in a statement. "The function of selling wine will now be on par with managing costs, and will become the dominant competitive issue over the next several years."

To read the full report, go to