Holiday wine prices 2011
The wine glut that has held prices down for the past couple of years hasn’t completely gone away, and holiday wine prices — with a couple of notable exceptions — should remain competitive. Which means there will be bargains for shoppers willing to do a bit of work.
“There is still a lot of wine in the supply chain,” says Harris Polakof, a fourth-generation liquor retailer in Dallas. “You’re going to find some big names still on sale. But there might not be as many good prices as you’ve seen in the past.”
That’s pretty much the consensus of the retailers, local and national, that I talked to this week, and it dovetails with the holiday wine reconnoitering I did in Dallas over the past five or six days. There is still significant price cutting going on, especially at grocery stores. There, says Polakoff, is where you’ll find what he called the price busters — wine at cost or not much more, which the supermarkets use to to bring in customers. More, after the jump:
The best prices, says Michael Osborn, the founder of Internet retailer Wine.com, which sells in 41 states and the District of Columbia, will be on California wine that sells for $40 or more. That’s where Osborn has seen discounts of as much as 50 percent on the Wine.com site. In addition, he says wine costing less than $15 from New World producers like Australia, Chile and Argentina is also likely to be discounted.
I saw that during my store visits, as well as aggressive pricing on more than one popular California brand. For example, Cupcake, which almost always costs $12 or $13 in Dallas, was on sale for less than $10.
What won’t be cheap? Champagne, where the biggest French producers cut shipments to the U.S. in favor of the booming Chinese market, and also raised prices. Polakoff, who runs one of the premier small retailers in the Southwest, says he was told he couldn’t get his normal allotment of one high-end brand; he finally got some, but only by calling in a favor.
Also, don’t expect to see many deals on French or Italian wine at any price. Osborn says importers, who were forced to do drastic discounting last Christmas, learned their lesson and were more realistic in their planning this year.
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