This week’s wine news: Icewine, already rare and expensive, is getting more rare and more expensive. Plus, Bed Bath & Beyond dumps World Market and something else.
• Icewine is even pricer: Canada’s Niagara region, one of the world’s most important for icewine production, is looking at one of its smallest harvests ever. One large producer may make one-quarter less wine, and smaller wineries are reducing production even more. Ironically, it’s not climate change forcing the cuts, but the pandemic. Since tourism has all but ended, winery officials say there’s less of a market for the product. Hence, prices may go up into the mid-triple digits for the best wine.
• Dumping World Market: Bed Bath & Beyond, which bought Cost Plus World Market and its extensive wine retail operation in 2012, has sold the chain. The purchase didn’t make much sense then, even to amateur retail analysts, and new management at Bed Bath has finally figured that out. Selling wine and housewares isn’t that much of a fit. Ironically, Cost Plus’ wine operation is not the cheap wine heaven it was at the time of sale — these days, it’s mostly overpriced private label and Big Wine brands. The new owner is a private equity firm, and that usually means store closings and layoffs. As noted in the post I wrote in 2012, I wish this had worked out. That it didn’t may mean more bad news for Cost Plus.
• The ultimate in wine nostalgia? Seth Stevenson, writing in Slate, tells us everything we need to know about Manischewitz, the Kosher wine that is known for being sweet and not very drinkable unless you like very sweet wine. He discusses its post-Prohibiton origin, its popularity in the Black community — Billy Eckstine, no less — and that it remains the best-selling Kosher wine in the country. The latter is stunning news, given that today there are Kosher wines that taste like wine. Which, of course, Manischewitz never really did.