Tag Archives: Wine.com

Winebits 674: Holiday season wine snobs edition

wine snobsThis week’s wine news: The wine snobs celebrate the holiday season

Ice in a glass of wine? VinePair asks sommeliers when it’s OK to put an ice cube in a glass of wine, because we need guidance on this subject from people with initials after their names. The post, believe it or not, includes a section on how to properly add ice. It’s pieces like this that make me wonder if I’ve wasted the past 13 years writing the blog. How about this advice? Add a cube or two when you feel like it. Which, in Texas in August, we feel like a lot.

The kindness of strangers? Mary Margaret McCamic, MW, writing on the Karolus Wine Imports blog, notes that “many of the most exciting bottles that I have enjoyed were the result of the generosity of collectors.” How does one respond to that? Does this mean that when the Big Guy comes over, and we dip into the wine closet for my latest $10 find, it’s not exciting? It’s pieces like this that make me wonder if I’ve wasted the past 13 years writing the blog.

No affordable wine? Megan Krigbaum, writing for Punch, laments the loss of affordable Beaujolais on restaurant wine lists. She defines this as Beaujolais costing less than $100 a bottle. It’s pieces like this that make me wonder if I’ve wasted the past 13 years writing the blog. $100 is affordable? For whom?  This also begs the question of Beaujolais’ availability on restaurant wine lists, and especially in the middle of the country. But what do I know? I put ice cubes in un-exciting $10 wine.

Winebits 673: Wine.com sales, restaurant wine, tasting notes

wine.comThis week’s wine news: Wine.com reports 217 percent sales increase, plus restaurants are headed in the opposite direction and another critic ponders the need for toasty and oaky

Wine.com sales: Wine.com, the U.S.’ biggest on-line wine retailer, ended the first six months of its fiscal year with a 217 percent sales increase compared to the previous 12 months. Can anyone say pandemic? Even without the increase in on-line retail caused by the coronavirus, sales for the previous 12 months were up 102 percent. One key to the jump: repeat sales from customers who pay $49 a year for free shipping, similar to Amazon Prime’s free shipping. Sales from those customers increased by about one-fifth more than overall sales for the past 12 months, as more of those customers bought more wine on-line. This raises the question again: How, once the retail world returns more or less to normal, will we be able to go back to thinking of on-line wine as something special, and not something we buy every day?

Not so good news: Tom Wark, writing on the Fermentation blog, asks: “Do we allow a huge swath of restaurants across the country to simply disappear in the wake of COVID and state’s restaurant shutdown orders or do we act to aid these institutions?” This has been the elephant in the room as the pandemic continues, with restaurants — rightly or wrongly — bearing the burst of government restrictions. I don’t know that I agree with all Tom writes, but his piece is well worth reading.

No tasting notes: Guy Woodward, writing in the British trade magazine Harpers, pulls no punches: “Who reaps the benefit, for example, of reading that a wine has notes of  ‘gentian, elderflower, seaweed, mussels, salt spray, chicken stock, sage, fennel, peach kernel, lemon, alkali and wet stone’?” This is the second British shot over the winespeak and tasting notes bow in recent weeks — quite a surprising development, given how entrenched the two are. Again, reason for optimism that some in the wine business understand the need to make wine more accessible.

Wednesday Birthday week 2020 giveaway: $100 Wine.com gift card

Win a $100 wine.com gift card

And the winner is: Cass, who selected 887; the winning number was 906 (screen shot below).  Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway — four Schott Zweisel wine glasses, just like the ones the Wine Curmudgeon uses. That will be the fourth of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 13th anniversary, we’re giving away a $100 Wine.com gift card, good for anything on the site of the world’s largest Internet wine retailer. Thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog. 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 exact 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.

The blog’s year end, holiday, and 2021 $10 Hall of Fame schedule

schedule
“Damn. I’d better clean this mess off so I can keep up with the WC’s holiday schedule.”

Get ready: The next couple of months of blog excitement include the 13th annual Birthday Week and giveaways, lots of holiday wine and gift suggestions, and the 2021 $10 Hall of Fame and Cheap Wine of the Year

• Birthday Week, celebrating 13 years of cheap wine enthusiasm, begins Nov. 16. Included among the giveaways is a $100 gift card from Wine.com, as well as wine glasses, wine books, and who knows what else?

• Our Thanksgiving wine suggestions will appear Nov. 20, with Christmas and New Year’s wine ideas on Dec. 21 and Dec. 28.

• The always popular Do it Yourself wine resolutions is set for Jan. 4.

• The 2021 $10 Hall of Fame will make its 14th appearance on Jan. 8, and the 2020 Cheap Wine of the Year will post on Jan. 7. As always, you can email me with suggestions for either or leave them in the comments. So far, prices and quality haven’t been quite as bad as I feared, which is impressive given the 25 percent wine tariff, the last death struggles of premiumization, and the pandemic. As always, your suggestions are much appreciated. You can check out the eligibility rules here. Keep in mind the wine should cost less than $12 or $13, should be generally available, and can’t be a private label sold exclusively by one retailer.

Photo: “2012-08-15 08.25.57” by KRoark is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Winebits 658: Wine sales, NBA wine, Wine.com

wine salesThis week’s wine news: One of the wine industry’s top analysts says sales could drop 12 percent in value this year. Meanwhile, one NBA player has turned his hotel room into a wine cellar and Wine.com says its worth $1 billion.

• Premiumization’s death knell? The pandemic could mean a 12 percent drop in the value of wine sold in the U.S., says analyst Jon Moramarco, editor with Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates. His numbers are among the best in the country, so the wine business pays attention. Moramarco told an on-line seminar that he expects total U.S. wine sales to end the year down 12.5 percent in value, an almost unheard of decline, though volume will be up 1.3 percent. The reason, of course, is the loss of the restaurant and bar business during the pandemic. He told the audience that some of those numbers were evident in the first half of this year: Volume was up 5.7 percent from 2019, but value was down 6.5 percent. In other words, we’re buying more, cheaper wine than we have in years – maybe even sine the recession.

How cold is it? Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, a noted wine lover, has converted his entire hotel room into a wine cellar during the NBA’s pandemic playoffs. McCollum cranks up the air conditioning so the room stays between 50 and 60 degrees – which, as we all know, is the ideal temperature for storing wine. The New York Post reports that McCollum does raise the temperature slightly when he’s in the room, but otherwise the goal is protecting his 84 bottles of wine (mostly Oregon pinot noir). Frankly, the Wine Curmudgeon is impressed. I love wine, but I don’t know that even I would do that.

Really? $1 billion? Wine.com, the on-line retailer, has valued itself at $1 billion, as it looks for to borrow money to expand. Bloomberg.com reported that Wine.com wants to raise around $50 to to $75 million, part of a process that could include become a public company through a stock offering. Needless to say, the pandemic has boosted the retailer’s business; sales were up 79 percent over the past 12 months and its CEO said, “The last quarter has fundamentally changed our growth trajectory.”

Wednesday Birthday week 2019 giveaway: $100 Wine.com gift card

wine.com gift card

And the winner is: Laura, who selected 656; the winning number was 665 (screen shot to the left).  Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway: four Schott Zwiesel wine glasses. Thanks to wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog. This is the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 12th anniversary, we’re giving away a $100 Wine.com gift card, good for anything on the site of the world’s largest Internet wine retailer. Thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog. 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 exact 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.

Wednesday Birthday week 2018 giveaway: $100 Wine.com gift card

wine.com gift card

The winner is Mike, who picked 333. The winning number was 317 (screenshot to the right).


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 11th anniversary, we’re giving away a $100 Wine.com gift card, good for anything on the site of the world’s largest Internet wine retailer. Thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog and what we do here. 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 exact 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.