Category Archives: Wine Curmudgeon

Once more, how consumers buy wine

how consumers buy wine
how consumers buy wine

Even I know — and I’m just a gratuitous cute dog so people will put this on Facebook — how consumers buy wine.

Dear Wine Business:

I know we have our differences, but we do want the same thing — to get more people to drink wine. Hence another of my letters, which I send you periodically to tell you what happens when I talk to consumers about wine. This time, how they buy wine, and it doesn’t have much to do with scores or premiumized wine.

Marlowe, one of the two official dogs of the Wine Curmudgeon, needed a haircut, so I took him to a local place, Kinder Kritter. I know the owner a little, but we’ve never talked about wine. This time, though, she was curious about my license plate, 10 WINE. I told her, and she asked me for some recommendations. What do you drink now? I asked.

I know you don’t want to believe this, Wine Business, but she drinks $10 Bogle cabernet sauvignon, and $12 J. Lohr cabernet when she wants to splurge. So cheap, Big Wine grocery store brands that are easy to find and aren’t sold on the basis of reviews, winespeak, or cute labels. In other words, none of the stuff she is supposed to drink and which makes her a fairly typical wine drinker.

Yes, small sample size, but it’s not like I haven’t heard it before. She likes red wine that is easy to drink, but has a little more going on than just that. I recommended the McManis cabernet and the Rene Barbier Spanish red blend. The former was similar to what she was already drinking, and the latter was like it in some ways, but also different enough so that she could expand her horizons. Because isn’t that what every wine drinker should do?

The owner was also very excited when I told her the Barbier was only $6. So much for premiumization, huh?

I’ll let you know what she thinks of my recommendations. And thanks again for your patience in reading this.

Your pal,
The Wine Curmudgeon

More about consumer wine buying habits:
How people really buy wine
Another study agrees: We buy wine on price
What drives wine drinkers? Price, of course

My apéritif with Randall Grahm


rnadall grahmDallas, finally, seems to be taking to Randall Grahm. The Bonny Doonster sold out a winemaker dinner at the new and much-praised Rapscallion on Monday night, and Dallas winemaker dinners usually don’t sell out unless they feature men who make massive, gigantic Napa-style red wine that costs too much money. Plus, Grahm’s wines are starting to show up on store shelves here, something that hasn’t happened in years.

Grahm’s trip gave us a chance to hold another of our sort of annual visits, where we taste his wines and solve the problems of the post-modern U.S. wine business. This time, we talked before the dinner, which I didn’t stay for since I didn’t want to stop him from schmoozing with the paying guests (schmoozing being winemaker slang for mingling with the customers).

After the jump, the highlights of our chat and a few notes about three of the wines served with the dinner:

8 signs you’ve been writing about wine for too long

writing about wine

“Please help me before I Andy Rooney again.”

Because, after more than 2,500 blog posts and even more time spent writing about wine for magazines, newspapers, and the Internet, even the Wine Curmudgeon sometimes wonders what he has wrought:

1. You know the cheap wine inventory at the biggest retailers in town better than the retailers do. And you’ve tasted more of the wine in their stores than they have.

2. You don’t read wine reviews or other wine writers; you read wine industry trade magazines and websites and follow what’s going on the way you used to follow baseball.

3. When you interview younger winemakers and mention a wine you tasted 10 or 15 years ago that was a big deal at the time, they not only don’t know the wine, but give you that kind but dotty old man look.

4. You find yourself, despite your best intentions, launching into Andy Rooney mode when someone says something stupid about wine — and especially if it’s obvious they don’t care if what they’re saying is stupid.

5. You know what someone means when they talk about glassy-winged sharpshooters and vectors, and you aren’t embarrassed by it.

6. You interrupt conversations to offer your insight into odd grapes like ugni blanc or marquette, and you get that kind but dotty old man look when you do.

7. You make a pop culture reference in one of your El Centro wine classes, and you get that kind but dotty old man look when you do. Honestly, does knowing who Catherine Deneuve is make me that out of touch?

8. You get a news release from someone touting a wine, and you realize you first tasted that wine before the person who wrote the release was born.

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