Because everyone wants to know what wine prices are going to do this year:
• Limited price hikes: From no less an authority than Rob McMillan at Silicon Valley Bank in his annual state of the wine industry report: “Wine businesses expect to increase bottle prices in 2013, although SVB believes that will prove difficult.” The report doesn’t say so specifically, but the reasons for this could lie in two other findings – that mergers and acquisitions of vineyards and wineries will continue at a record pace, which means increased economies of scale to keep prices in check, and “massive” bulk imports, especially for the cheapest wine, as producers look globally to keep costs down.
• So what do we call it now? Trader Joe’s is raising the price of Two-buck Chuck in its California stores, the first increase since the brand was introduced 11 years ago -- It will go from $1.99 to $2.49. Before everyone panics, though, note that the wine costs $2.49 to $3.79 in the rest of the country, and that the rate of inflation since then would have pushed the cost of the wine to $2.54 – so you’re still saving a nickel.
• No more £5 wine? The average price of wine in a British shop has crossed that threshold, but not necessarily because of rising wine costs. Since 2002, reports thedrinksbusiness.com, 80 percent of the increase has come from higher taxes. The British government is trying desperately to crack down on binge drinking, and this appears to be one of the most effective methods. By compairson, the average cost of wine in the U.S. is around $6 -- less than £4.