Tag Archives: Wine.com

winetrends

Holiday wine trends 2015

Holiday wine trendsHoliday wine trends in 2015? Red wine — lots and lots of red wine.

That’s the consensus from the retailers I’ve talked to over the past 10 days. The red blends boom, combined with an upsurge in interest in pinot noir, has shoppers going for what Chris Keel, who runs Put a Cork in It in Fort Worth, calls “a bigger style in red blends.”

That was born out by numbers from Wine.com, where two-thirds of the wine sold over the past year were red. Mike Osborne, the web site’s founder and and vice president of merchandising, reports that the leading red wine categories, including merlot, have grown by double digits.

Interestingly, prices seem stable, particularly on the high end, and we’re still looking for value. But we’re also willing to pay for a holiday splurge, says Nick Vorpagel of Lake Geneva Country Meats. “They’re generally OK with $15, especially for domestic wine,” he says, noting the difficulty in finding quality for $10 from U.S. producers. “And I think consumers have decided that wine is an integral part of their meal and they’re OK with paying a bit more for a quality bottle of wine.”

Among the other holiday wine trends this year:

? Rose is still popular, even though it’s not rose season. Wine.com is selling more rose than merlot, which is as welcome a development as it is hard to believe.

? “Customers are looking for wine recommendations that fit their palate, not just a generic ‘best pairing’ recommendation,” says Vorpagel. “I’m having more customers come in and say, ‘I don’t like pinot noir; what other reds will go with turkey?’ It’s great because people are getting more comfortable with their palate to say ‘I’m not going to drink something I don’t like just because an expert recommends it.’ ” That sound you hear is the Wine Curmudgeon’s sigh of pleasure.

? Oak is not going away, no matter how much I want it to. Those of you who like it are still buying it, and especially in chardonnay, and producers have launched several wines in the $15 to $20 range for these wine drinkers.

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Wednesday birthday week giveaway: $50 Wine.com gift card

wine.com gift cardwednesdayrandomAnd the winner is: Bob, who selected 259; the winning number was 230 (screen shot to the right). Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway is the legendary VinGardeValise, the wine suitcase to end all wine suitcases (and a pal of the blog).


Today, to celebrate the blog’s eighth anniversary, the prize is a $50 Wine,com gift card (and my thanks to the people at Wine.com for their continuing support). This is the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift pack.

VinGarde Valise

Wednesday Birthday Week giveaway: $50 Wine.com gift card

111914And the winner is: asb, who selected 840; the winning number was 870 (screenshot to the right). Thanks to everyone who participated, Tomorrow’s giveaway is The VinGarde Valise, the ultimate wine bottle suitcase, plus discounts for those who want to buy one.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s seventh anniversary, we’re giving away a $50 gift card from Wine.com, and thank you very much to the people at Wine.com for their continuing contribution to the cause — the third year in a row they’ve donated the card. This is the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift card.

wine.com gift card

Wednesday Birthday Week 2013 giveaway: $50 Wine.com gift card

And the winner is: Laura, who selected 56; the winning number was 64 (screenshot to the right). Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s prize is a wine accessories gift pack, including a wine tote, corkscrew, and white wine ice bag, courtesy of Nomacorc.

Today, to celebrate the blog’s sixth anniversary, we’re giving away a $50 gift card from Wine.com, and thank you very much to the people at Wine.com for their contribution to the cause. Wine.com offers free shipping with the Steward-Ship program, which includes a free, one-month trial. This is the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Briefly, pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of the prize post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post. Otherwise, your entry doesn’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you have to come to the website, winecurmudgeon.com and to this post, to enter. At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift card.

Winebits 289: Terroir, three-tier, Wine.com

? Another view of terroir? Terroir, a French term that has no exact meaning in English, is something wine geeks love to argue about ? does it exist or not? Those of us who believe in terroir believe it lends a sense of place to the best wine, regardless of price. Anti-terroir advocates (yes, just like matter and anti-matter) say we ?re a bunch of old farts and that wine should be made to taste the best it can, regardless of terroir. The eminent Paul Lukacs offers a third view ? that, despite some truth, it ?s mostly a myth perpetuated by French marketers in the first third of the 20th century. That should give us something to discuss the next time Paul and I judge together.

? Another victory for the distributors: It ?s depressing, but someone has to keep track of this stuff. The Illinois legislature, no doubt acting at the behest of some of its biggest campaign contributors, has passed a law that strengthens the state ?s three-tier system. Three-tier are the alcohol regulations left over from Prohibition that prohibit consumers from buying wine almost anywhere but traditional retailers. The legislature passed the law because Anheuser-Busch bought a stake in its biggest Chicago-area distributor. The beer giant will now have to sell its share of the distributor. How silly is this? Like Ford being told by the Michigan legislature that it can ?t own one of its parts suppliers.

? For sale or not? The cyber-ether has been buzzing the past week or so with rumors that Wine.com, the largest Internet wine retailer and a friend of the blog, is for sale. Wine.com ?s boss has denied the rumors, saying the reports exaggerate the company ?s financial woes. Supposedly, Wine.com ?s private equity backer was unhappy with its performance and wanted out. Regular visitors here know the uphill battle legal Internet retailers face, thanks to three-tier, and Wine.com is no exception. It has to become a local retailer in many states in which it does business to comply with state laws, a costly and time-consuming effort. If its financial backers are unhappy, the question is not that they are, but why they expected anything else given the regulatory environment.

Wine availability: How to find what you’re looking for when it’s not on the shelf

Wine availability: How to find what you're looking for when it's not on the shelf

So much wine, but so much that never seems to be available.

Wine availability is the bane of any wine writer ?s existence. Even the Wine Curmudgeon, who only writes about wine that I see on a store shelf or am assured is on a shelf on pain of my considerable wrath, gets emails all the time asking why something I wrote about isn ?t available.
There are a variety of reasons for this, most of which are discussed in the link above. The point of this post is to help you find wine when your local retailer doesn ?t have it.

The caveat in all of this is that wine availability varies from store to store, city to city and state to state. As Michigan State ?s Phil Howard noted in his landmark study of the wine business, there are no national brands, and availability is one confused mess.

So these pointers should work ? but it doesn ?t mean they always will:

? Ask the retailer to check his or her distributor books. More wines exist than any retailer can possibly carry, so just because they aren ?t in the store doesn ?t mean they aren ?t available. A distributor book lists every single wine ? often thousands for the biggest distributors ? that can be sold at retail in that market, and many markets have at least a half a dozen distributors. If the wine is in one of the books, a good retailer will get it for you.

? Check with the winery. Obviously, if you can buy it from them, so much the better. But if you can ?t (thank you, three-tier system), send an email, and there ?s a decent chance you ?ll get a reply. The best solution: Some producers have database apps on their site, like this one from Terlato, that let you search for their wines in your area.

? The importer should know. If the wine is not made in the U.S., there ?s a line on the back label that says ?Imported by such and such. ? Look for the importer ?s web site; sometimes, they ?ll have a database app. More likely, you ?ll have to send an email.

? Look for on-line retailers like Wine.com. This comes with the proviso that on-line wine sales are notoriously annoying, what with shipping charges and state laws designed to restrict on-line sales.

? Use Wine-Searcher.com. Plug in a wine, and this site will tell you who carries it (as long as the retailer has paid to be listed in the results). Despite its limitations, which include results that aren ?t consistent from search to search and outdated retailer availability, it can be quite helpful. And the free version is usually sufficient. One visitor to the blog used Wine-Searcher to find a wine I had reviewed that wasn ?t available in her market, but was at another retailer in her state who shipped it to her.

? Send me an email. Believe me, I don’t mind forwarding it to the producer or importer.

Winebits 259: Wine consumption edition

? French wine consumption declines again: But they still drink more than the rest of us, something that tends not to show up in these stories. A five-year study by a French agriculture ministry agency found that French adults drink more than six bottles of wine a month, down from about 18 in 1965. By comparison, the average American drinks about one bottle a month. Why have the French cut down? They ?re ?increasingly cautious about products that are dangerous in excessive quantities, ? said a ministry spokeswoman.

? English buying less wine: By two percent over a year ago, according to figures from a British trade group. This is an amazing statistic, given Britain ?s long history as a wine drinking nation, and it shows just how deep and difficult the recession has been there. A report spokesman did not hedge his comments: ?Overall, the latest market report shows that consumers are continuing to tighten their belts and shop around for the best value in these tough economic times. ?

? Wine.com customers love their Cristalino: It was second most ordered wine from the Internet retailer in 2012, and this was the sixth consecutive time it made Wine.com ?s top 100 sales list. This does not surprise the Wine Curmudgeon, long a Cristalino fan, though it may surprise many in the business who keep waiting for wine prices to increase. In fact, the top 10 list was headed by an $8 Columbia Crest wine, and two or three wines on the list were really expensive.