Wine Talk

Snooth User: Philip James

How the economy affects wine sales

Posted by Philip James, Dec 15, 2008.

This is a pretty comprehensive article and worth the read. Some quotes / themes:

- Consumers have been shifting to buying wine and food in stores for consumption at home, according to The Nielsen Co. In a figure that surprised some market analysts, wine had the fourth-highest amount of volume sales in October, up 7.1 percent from a year ago, according to Nielsen analysis of store scan data.

- One of the fastest-growing wine sales segments now are wines retailing for less than $15 a bottle, particularly less than $7 a bottle.

- On-premise wine sales nationwide so far this year have ebbed 12 percent to 15 percent from where they were last year, according to market information gathered by Gomberg Fredrikson & Associates in Woodside.


Reply by Eric Guido, Dec 15, 2008.

Everyone's trying to keep as much of their cash to themselves as possible. I know I've slowed down a bit. I'm also very lucky that I book myself out about two months in advance because I've heard a lot of stories of big clients not coming through this year for holiday parties. I was also just talking to a friend in the retail wine industry who explained that half of the corporate (gift giving) business that they usually receive, this time of year, has disappeared,

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Dec 16, 2008.

As a retailer, I am still seeing lots of corporate gift giving. There's nothing close to a 50% dropoff

The segment which seems to have dried up for us, is wines over $20 bought by individual consumers.

Reply by ChipDWood, Dec 16, 2008.

I work wine retail too, & I gotta say that what I've seen- what little that trend may indicate in the bigger picture- is that folks aren't buying the $25 bottle anymore- but are buying two of the $15 bottles instead.

Not a typo.

From what little my own perspective of this season's wine market from the retail perspective may be worth: folks are actively hunting for the higher quality bargain examples now than just clinging to the mondo-production National brands.

The spread of wine-making technology that has forced quality up- especially in newer wine-producing regions (re: Chile, Argentina, South Africa, etc.)- is having an affect on "what's good", and what's being pursued by the customer as well. A wine with the quality of something like the Caro (Rothschild, ) in the past would have cost $80 & up. Not so much anymore, and when you consider how other technology has chipped in to broaden the availability of these kinds of wines (refrigeration, shipping efficiency, etc.)- your wine dollar's been not-so-quietly growing like crazy when it comes to the quality and availability of new wines hitting market.

There's more of the "good" to choose from than ever before, at a lower price per bottle, and less of the swill as folks discover that the better end of things is only a couple bucks away.

Not to mention either that higher-end wines are going to become dramatically more affordable come spring, particularly at auction.

Yo dos pesos.

Reply by scottdseaman, Dec 16, 2008.

We're seeing more people buying from the bargain end, BUT they continue to look the unique and exceptional for as great a value as we can produce from our books.

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