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The Wine Curmudgeon’s first wine prices survey

One of the difficulties with writing a wine blog that focuses on price, and that most of my colleagues don’t have, is that there is no standard for wine prices in the Read More »

winetrends

Premiumization: Are wine drinkers really trading up?

That’s the top trend in wine this year, that we’re feeling better about the economy and trading up: Buying more expensive wine than the wine we bought during the recession, moving from Read More »

wineofweek

Wine of the week: Château Martinon 2011

Dear Bordeaux wine wise guys: You’ve been moaning and wailing that Americans have abandoned your wines, and you claim to be baffled why. Fortunately, the Wine Curmudgeon is here to explain. Your Read More »

winenews

Winebits 381: Direct shipping, consolidation, Prosecco

• Lots of kinks to work out: Direct shipping, despite its successes over the past decade, is still a tiny part of the wine business, just single percentage points of the $17 Read More »

literacy

The Wine Curmudgeon’s Lunch for Literary

In which I’m offering my services to raise money to benefit literacy education — because, if Robert Parker can do it, why can’t I? Parker, the man who popularized the 100-point scoring Read More »

The Wine Curmudgeon’s first wine prices survey

winetrends

wine prices One of the difficulties with writing a wine blog that focuses on price, and that most of my colleagues don’t have, is that there is no standard for wine prices in the U.S. One region’s $10 wine can be another’s $15 wine, and this doesn’t take into account states with minimum pricing laws or those with government-owned retailers.

It’s not the problem availability is, but it’s enough of a problem that I decided to do this post, which is also something many of you have asked for. The goal is to get pricing data from readers around the country, put it into a spreadsheet, and see if we can determine regional differences. That is, we’ll know that a wine in Dallas will cost 10 percent less in one place or 15 percent more in another. That way, when I list the price, you can make the appropriate adjustment.

So let’s do this:

First, e-mail me the prices for two or three wines you buy regularly, as well as where you buy them. Or, you can click the Contact link at the top of the page. Preferably, these should be wines we talk about on the blog, since doing it for wine prices higher than $15 won’t help much. I’ll take your prices for the next month or so, until Mother’s Day.

Then, I’ll flesh out your numbers with wine prices from retailers I know around the country, using your wines as the guidelines.

Finally, I’ll crunch the numbers and publish the results on the blog. We also might be able to learn a thing or two and make some news in the process: Are Big Wine prices more consistent? Do state taxes make that much of a difference? Are some retailers more or less expensive?

Premiumization: Are wine drinkers really trading up?

winetrends

premiumizationThat’s the top trend in wine this year, that we’re feeling better about the economy and trading up: Buying more expensive wine than the wine we bought during the recession, moving from $4 bottles to $8, from $8 to $12, from $10 to $15, and from $15 to $20.  The wine business calls this trend premiumization, and the salivating at the prospect has reached epic proportions.

That’s because the wine business doesn’t necessarily want to sell cheap wine — it’s not as profitable and it doesn’t carry the prestige that selling more expensive wine does (a much more important reason than consumers can possibly imagine). Plus, selling cheap wine requires more work. You can move a tanker truck of $25 wine in 20 minutes if it gets a 95, but cheap wines don’t get 95s, the competition for shelf space is ferocious, and most cheap wine is sold by the biggest retailers, who demand the best deals and which makes cheap wine even less profitable.

Hence premiumization, which some of the smartest people in wine say is here and isn’t going away. I’m not so sure, and I don’t say this just because my livelihood is cheap wine. As I continually remind people, there has never been a definitive study made public that demonstrates that wine drinkers trade up. Everyone just assumes it’s so. But does anyone know a wine drinker who went from Barefoot to Bogle to Hess or Rodney Strong to Silver Oak?

More, after the jump:

Wine of the week: Château Martinon 2011

wineofweek

Château MartinonDear Bordeaux wine wise guys:

You’ve been moaning and wailing that Americans have abandoned your wines, and you claim to be baffled why. Fortunately, the Wine Curmudgeon is here to explain. Your wines are too often overpriced and of middling quality, and if you want to fix the problem, talk to Chateau Martinon’s Jerome Trolliet. You might learn a thing or two.

That’s because the Chateau Martinon ($11, purchased, 12.5%) is classic white Bordeaux, the kind of wine you made when you were the envy of the wine world, but gave up in favor of chasing trends, raising prices, and courting the Chinese. In this, it tastes like white Bordeaux, and not sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or Chile.

That means more minerality than citrus, but enough lemon-lime citrus to be pleasant, plus a richness many other white Bordeauxs don’t bother with anymore. Credit that to using more semillion than sauvignon blanc in the blend, a not common practice. And that this was a prior vintage just made the Chateau Martinon more interesting. Who knew an $11 wine from the very ordinary Entre-Deux-Mers region would age this well?

Highly recommended, and you should be proud that someone in Bordeaux remembers how to do things the right way.

Your pal,
The Wine Curmudgeon

 

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