When it comes to wine, “It’s a buyer’s market” according to Jean-Michel Diot, Tapenade, La Jolla, CA. 43% of restaurants are reporting a decrease in overall wine sales for 2009 but Wino’s are consuming more wine then previous years.
"There are some exceptions but in general, bigger labels have gained some traction as the recession may have forced many Americans to seek value by “trading down” to less-expensive wines. Last year, 28 brands sold at least two million cases each in the United States, and advanced by a combined 1.1 percent by sales volume, the fastest growth of any segment. Collectively, these two-million case wines were priced 35 percent below the industry average of just over $7 per bottle. The trend continued into this year as the fifty largest-selling brands are projected to combine for a 1.2 percent gain, double the total market’s expected growth rate" - Impact Databank 2009
As lower priced wines gain more popularity (an acceptance in some circles) I’m inclined to ask, “what’s everyone drinking?”
Sauvignon Blanc - Sales increased in 2009 and so did the average price (2008 -$46.07, compared to $47.62 in 2009).
*Recommended - Kim Crawford, Marlborough, New Zealand ($41)
Chardonnay – Since 1995 it has been a loosing popularity but still remains one of the strongest performing wine. The average price per bottle decreased 8% in 2009 to $55.73 compared to $60.58 in 2008.
*Recommended - Masion Joseph Drouhin, Bourgogne Laforet, Beaune, Cote d’Or, France ($28)
Cabernet Sauvignon – Is on sale! Despite it’s incremental increase in demand, prices are down 9% in 2009 ($78.53 compared to $86.36)
* Recommended - Louis Martini Winery, St. Helena, Nappa Valley, CA ($46)
Merlot – When comparing top selling wines, from 1997 to 2007 merlot lost just over 10% of market share. In 2009 it just lost few additional points and but that didn’t do much for it’s price. (2008 - $54.66, 2009 $53.56)
*Recommended - Francis F. Coppola Presents, California Diamond Series, Geyserville, Sonoma City, CA ($37)
* Data courtesy of Wine & Spirits, April 2010 based on yearly restaurant sales.