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Update: How much should an everyday wine cost?

Update: How much should an everyday wine cost?How much should an everyday wine cost? Between $5 and $12, according to the poll that ran on the blog and that you can find at the bottom of this post. Thanks to everyone who participated. Several thoughts about the results:

• The $5 to $12 range, of course, is completely at odds with the wine industry’s view of how much everyday wine should cost — $12 to $18. That range came in second, but it wasn’t particularly close. Yes, this was not a scientific effort with margins of error, and yes, the results were almost certainly skewed because it was hosted by someone whose reason for being is cheap wine. But I was still surprised. I thought $12 to $18 would win, because that’s what the experts keep telling me wine drinkers want. But sometimes even I forget wine drinkers are usually smarter than the experts.

• Ultra-cheap wine, less than $5, finished fourth, barely ahead of expensive wine. This was also surprising, given how much of this wine is sold each year — some 5 million cases annually for just Two-buck Chuck, the $2.99 (or whatever) wine sold by Trader Joe’s. Either $5 fans didn’t do the poll, or many consumers see Two-buck Chuck and its ilk as something to keep in the fridge when they want a glass, but not necessarily something to open when they want a bottle of wine with dinner.

• Fewer than 2 percent of the votes were cast for expensive wine. Which also surprised me. I guess I need to remember why I do this and why so many people read what I do.

• The comments were almost as much fun as the poll, thoughtful and well-written (you can find them at the link at the top of the post). How about the guy who makes his own wine so he doesn’t have to pay for it? Or the several intelligent discussions about wine quality and price? Which is another reminder that the wine business misses an opportunity when it underestimates the intelligence of its customers.

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4 Responses to Update: How much should an everyday wine cost?

  1. Garymillman@sbcglobal.net' Gary Milman says:

    Fun poll, and shows that wine drinkers are more reliable than wine industry “experts”. I recently discovered Sebastani Cabernet. List price is $17.99 but don’t believe it. On sale at my local Safeway it was $11. And what a great wine! Needs to breathe, and was in fact better the second day than the first. Classic cab with dark fruit favors a touch of burnt caramel, but not overly tannic — good balance. If you find this one cheap, buy it.

  2. Not sure if I count as one of the “experts,” but I sense a bit of a straw man here in the question of what “should” a wine cost. I would agree with the poll majority that $5-12 is ideal, but I would also argue that the best values are often found in the $12-20 range. Many under $12 wines a simply boring if not worse (and yes, “simply boring” is an improvement over many years ago), but I find the extra money to go up a notch is often quite well spent in terms of increased quality. More so than the extra value one gets by going from $12-20 to $21 and up. (The law of diminishing returns, I guess.)

    I seem to recall some guy out there who specializes in finding those wines under $10 that actually are not boring, but worth buying. Can’t think of his name right now, though ….

  3. wblakegray@gmail.com' Blake Gray says:

    I think I wrote recently that last year the average price of 750 ml of wine in the US was up over $8 for the first time. So the poll reflects the sales numbers.

    It’s worth noting that one group cannot dictate to another what the right answer is. And moreover, there’s a different sector of wine for each.

    Napa Valley and Burgundy are intensely interested in the 7 people who answered “more than $25,” and not that interested in the others.

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