It’s Getting Worse and Not Likely To Get Better Soon
M. Shanken's IMPACT Magazine reports today that the six distributors of wine & spirits in the United States control more than 50% of all sales of wine and spirits in this country.
By this time next year you can almost be sure that it will be five, maybe even just four, distributors that control that much of the wine and spirits sales in the United States.
Southern Wine &I Spirits controls 20% of the entire distribution market for wine & Spirits in the United States. Republic/National controls 10%. That's two company's that control 30% of all the wine and spirit sales in the United states.
Does anyone think that any of the six largest companies have any good reason to represent, say, a 3,000 case winery from New York or from Michigan or from California or from Oregon? Of course they don't. But here's the kicker, in most states a winery can't distribute their wines unless a distributor agrees to.
This is how only a very few companies that know ZERO about customer service or the sale of wine at retail, control what wines consumers have access to. The vast majority of wine sold by these Oligarchic, state-supported behemoths are HUGE national brands. I have nothing against huge national brands. But for wine lovers, the problem is perfectly clear: Distributors that control the market make more money when you don't have access to the wines you want. They make more money when you are buying the mass produced wines they want to sell.
Your only recourse is to buy direct from the wineries that you want to support. The problem with that is all to often their most coveted wines are often sold out. And since these wines are not likely distributed by wholesalers, you have to go on line and find them at an on-line retailer. The problem with that is that the wholesalers have fought tooth and nail to assure that retailers can only ship wine legally into 13 states.