How people really buy wine

The wine business ? and especially wine writing ? is dominated by the idea that consumers buy wine based on scores, reviews, and the good taste that those in charge share with the masses.

Which, of course, is so far from the truth that I ?m surprised anyone still believes it. Or, as I saw last week at a World Market in Dallas (and yes, the Wine Curmudgeon was chuckling as he watched):

20-something woman: ?I need to buy some wine for a party. ?

Store employee: ?We have this wonderful pinot noir, great scores, won a gold medal. ?

20-something woman: ?Do you have something that costs $8 a bottle

One more time, for those of you not paying attention ?- only 60 percent of Americans drink wine. Of those of us who do drink wine, 20 percent of us account for 9 out of every 10 bottles sold. And we ain ?t drinking first growths, as anyone who has bothered to look at sales studies would know.

Which means there are more consumers like that 20-something woman out there than many of us want to admit.


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