The State of The Wine Industry…Dan-Style
I missed the Unified Symposium this year, and I’m worse off for it. It’s an important event.
However, I did read the news coming out of the Symposium about the state of my beloved California wine industry. All good news. All GREAT News! For example:
experts assessed the industry at the 2008 Unified Wine & Grape
Symposium in Sacramento Jan. 30 with a dizzying array of charts, tables
and graphs. The data show a healthy and thriving market for U.S. wines
and the potential to capture an even greater market share"…wrote the folks over at Captial Press where agriculture reporting is the focus. In fact, this was the news reported out of the symposium just about everywhere.
Assessing all the various trend data and indicators to get an idea of the health of any industry is not an easy thing to do. Most of us are content to read the news and rely on our own observations. It’s always nice to have the perspective of someone who knows the industry intimately, but doesn’t have an interest in any particular part of the business.
Enter Dan Berger.
I know people who dismiss Dan’s because they are opposed to his belief that too many wines made today are down right unpleasant because of their enormity that comes with a desire to grab scores and the customers who buy scores. Dismissing Dan Berger’s opinion, however, is akin to dismissing the reporting of Bob Woodward because you were a Nixon fan.
Dan recently wrote an article for Appellation America that literally scrapes the smile off the Unified Symposium’s Happy Face. In this article Dan points to a number of trends that give one pause:
31 percent of all wine sold in the United States last year was imported
wine. This, in case you aren’t aware of it, is an all-time record. In
1986-87, imports reached nearly 1 bottle in 4, and if the current trend
continues, it’ll soon be 1 bottle in 3."
"With Gallo, Constellation, Diageo, and Fosters now controlling a larger
share of all wine production and sales than ever before, the consumers’
options have shrunk. The majors now call the shots in ways they didn’t
until just recently."
"Fredrickson, publisher of the respected Gomberg Fredrickson Report,
showed graphs and tables proving how healthy the U.S. wine economy was
in 2006, with shipments up 2 percent from 2006 to 2007. All well and
good, but his own data showed that sales of imports rose 9 percent last
"Except for rising sales of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, increases in sales of Riesling and rosé over the last few years, and a bit of enthusiasm for Pinot Gris/Grigio, little else is very encouraging."
This is a really important story that Dan Berger has written and it is recommended to anyone in the wine industry or anyone interested in the wine industry that craves perspective.