I’ve been writing a fair amount of commentary lately, some of it dealing with wine prices, but only tangentially; so today I wanted to take a look at where fine wine prices are going, and perhaps identify some smart plays for the savvy wine shopper.
I’m dealing with some relatively expensive wines here, most in the $50 and up range, so while I understand the limited appeal of an article such as this, I still think it’s worth the effort. As we’ll most likely see, rises in wines at the higher end of the spectrum usually foretell price increases working their way down the pricing ladder, eventually affecting all fine wines regardless of price.
What I set out to do here started, as some other articles of late, as a melancholy look back at wines that I can no longer afford. It’s almost funny; when I worked through all these details I discovered that being no longer able to afford some of these wines had as much to do with mindset as it did with the actual prices of the wines in question, though pricing is a better place to start this discussion.
Wine Store image via Shutterstock
Numbers don’t lie, and they are easy to understand, so let's begin by taking a look at the value of money. I’m going to be going back in time to about a decade to begin this exercise, though with Burgundy
the time frame will be only five years. In any event, $100 of 2002 dollars would be worth about $128 in today’s money. So if the current release of a wine that cost $100 in 2002 is priced under $128 a bottle today, they are equivalent amounts of money. Conversely, $100 of today’s dollars would have be worth $78.50 in 2002. It seems as though I must have felt wealthier back then, though assuredly I wasn’t.