$7, $15, $25, $50, $100 for a Wine: What’s the difference?
Wine Business Monthly’s Cyril Penn reports in the San Francisco Chronicle that we are buying more expensive wines than in the past.
For the record, in this calculation "expensive" equates to $15 and a above. Without seeming like a snob, which I realize is hard at times for me, that doesn’t strike me as "expensive". However, in the overall scheme of things (that "scheme" being what most people tend to spend on wine) $15 is "expensive".
According to Cyril’s reading of AC Nielsen reports, $15+ wine sales grew 41 percent between January 2004 and October 2006.
In my mind this trend must correlate to higher levels of disposable income in American’s pockets. It might also relate to an slowly increasing price structure for wines that had been near or beneath $15 per bottle.
I went back and took a look at the average price of a wine that I buy. Note this is what I buy, not what my wife buys. She tends to drink wine more regularly than I and is more frugal. My average bottle is about $25. What’s remarkable is the really amazing quality and variety of wines one can purchase at that price. A recent scanning, for example, of Winebid.com brings me wines from across the globe, well aged and new, sweet and dry, for about $25.
At retail I’ll go over $50 for a bottle of wine on occasion but for that price I’m looking for an experience. I’m looking for something different, or at least something that promises me something I rarely get to taste. That’s harder to find, but perhaps only because I’ve tasted through a number of wines over the years.
What does it take for me to spend over $100 on a bottle of wine? I’m looking for something that is rare. Something that delivers not just unique sensual experience but something that speaks to me about place, culture, history and my own personal circumstances. I don’t have need for this kind of experience often. What’s interesting thought is I almost never PLAN to seek out this experience through wine but rather am presented, surprisingly, with the circumstances.
I’m not sure what a person who is moving from regularly spending $7 for a bottle of wine to $15 for a bottle for a bottle of wine is expecting from their additional $8. Perhaps what they have is simply hope. I don’t know.
What I do know is that this trend toward folks paying more for wine is good for wine industry. I just hope it pays off for the consumer too.