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Troubling Economic Times

The recent financial meltdown and economic worries are affecting just about everyone worldwide. Maybe some of us have not been hit as hard as others yet we still have concerns. People everywhere are changing their buying habits, looking for bargains, putting off large expenditures and staying away from big tag items. Just about every retail market has been hurt by sales declines and the wine industry is among them. The December issue of Wine Spectator has two articles on this subject titled “Wine Industry Worries About the Economy” by Tim Fish and “What Now for Wine Lovers?” by James Laube. The first tells how wine retailers and restaurant sommeliers around the country are worried about the upcoming holiday season, the busiest wine-consuming time of the year. With the economic problems affecting consumer spending everyone is concerned about what the 2008 holiday season will bring. With reports of sales being generally flat and customers trading down in price there is definitely reason for concern. One buyer reports customers have become more price conscious with double digit increases in the $8.99 to $13.99 price range, while $15 to mid-$20 wine experienced only a moderate increase.

The second article What Now by James Laube lists excellent ideas or strategies for wine buying in these troubled times. A few of his key points are Ignoring price as a quality gauge. I know many times I have purchased a wine based on price assuming it to be a premium wine, only to be disappointed by it. Set limits on your spending, making bargain hunting a priority and holding the line on what you spend per bottle. Being cautious about mailing lists, with most wines sold by clubs or mailing list being expensive, he suggests short of quitting, “consider resigning from those whose wines don’t equate to value.” Also cutting back on your allocation or sharing it with someone. My favorite is If you have a cellar, drink from it. I have been collecting wine in my cellar for several years now. What better time to bring out some older selections, you know a little house cleaning. I will save some cash, drink some good wine, and have some fun trying to remember the reason each bottle was collected. The article lists many other good suggestions on rethinking your wine buying strategies and not over paying for wine.
As a wine lover I am not about to quit buying and drinking wine in a bad economy. I have for the most part, lowered my price range under $15, while searching out bargains and sales. I believe wine prices as a whole have become inflated in the last few years, especially the California wines and hope these trying times will push retailers to scale back the prices and put more value wines on the shelf.
For the complete articles pick up a copy of Wine Spectator Magazines December issue, or if you are a member visit their web site:
http://www.winespectator.com/

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