Tag Archives: wine drinkers

Winebits 570: Box wine, wine drinkers, restaurant trends

box wine

This week’s wine news: Why isn’t box wine more popular? Plus, identifying U.S. wine drinkers and restaurant wine trends for 2019

No boxes, please: Box wine, despite its increasing popularity, remains a minor part of the wine business. It accounts for just four percent of wine sold worldwide by volume; box sales have declined in Australia, one of the few places where it’s popular; and younger wine drinkers prefer bottles to boxes. One expert thinks he knows why: The technology was developed for battery acid, and producers treated the wine they put in boxes much the same way, using it for lower quality products.

Parsing the wine drinker: A study has divided U.S. wine drinkers into six groups in one of those exercises that only marketing types can understand. The study uses terms like social newbies and premium brand suburbans to divide us by age and demographics. As near as I can tell, the idea is that younger wine drinkers are more adventurous and older wine drinkers buy the same brands of chardonnay and white zinfandel over and over. Which, of course, isn’t all that new; perhaps it means something the marketing gurus in the audience?

Restaurant wine trends: Of which there aren’t any in 2019, if this forecast from a restaurant consultancy is accurate. It lists 13 trends for next year, including higher prices, new spins on Asian food, and “motherless meat.” But it doesn’t say one thing about restaurant wine, which makes perfect sense given what we’ve seen of restaurant wine over the past couple of years. So don’t expect the conundrum that is restaurant wine — higher prices, mediocre quality — to be solved anytime soon.

What do wine drinkers want?

wine drinkeresWine drinkers want mostly simple things. Why is that too much to ask?

• Wine prices: What do wine drinkers pay for a bottle of wine?

What do wine drinkers want? That is, those of us who drink wine because we enjoy it and aren’t chasing scores, trying to impress others with how much money we spend, or aspire to become wine geeks.

I shouldn’t have to ask this question, but as I start to gather material for the blog’s 11th annual Birthday Week starting Nov. 12, it remains in the forefront. Because, as one Dallas retailer who usually doesn’t say things like this said the other day: “Why is the wine business starting to treat consumers and wine drinkers like they’re idiots?”

So what do wine drinkers want?

• Fair pricing. The point is not how much a wine costs, but whether it’s worth what it costs. Barefoot, regardless of anything else, usually offers $6 of value. How many $20 wines can say that? And, as noted too many times in the past couple of years, fewer and fewer wines that cost more than $15 are worth that much money – to the Dallas retailer’s point.

• Truth in labeling. If a wine is sweet, say it’s sweet. Why is that so difficult to do?

• Varietal correctness. Chardonnay should taste like chardonnay, merlot should taste like merlot and so forth. Why is this so difficult to do?

• Legitimate availability. I get at least one email a week from a reader saying she or he can’t find wines I’ve written about. This happens even though I try to write about wines that are generally available. So why the problem? Because the system is rigged in favor of the biggest wholesalers and the biggest retailers, but not the consumer. Hence, the most available wines are usually the least interesting, the least varietally correct, the least truthful about sweetness, and the most unfairly priced.

• Knowledgeable sales people. Why a Chicago-area grocery store wine salesman would be rude to my mom when she asked about a wine I had written about is beyond me. But behavior like that is becoming the norm – when you can find someone to help you.

One Saturday night drinking wine

What happens when you spend a Saturday night with a couple of dozen people who drink wine ? some of whom know a little about wine, some of whom know more than that, and some of whom don’t know much at all? You learn something about consumers and what they think of wine and the wine business, and it’s something that all of us who care about wine should pay attention to.

My Saturday night adventure and those lessons are after the jump: Continue reading

The future of the wine business — and it’s not what the wine business thinks it is

AllisonThe Wine Curmudgeon has seen the future of the wine business, and it is not like anything that we have imagined. It is not about scores or cult wines or big name critics or even the Winestream Media. Rather, it is about consumers drinking wine because they like it or their friends like it or someone they know through social media likes it — and, most importantly, they really don’t care what anyone else thinks about what they like.

And, with apologies to Jon Landau, at a time when I needed to feel young and positive about wine, and not middle-aged and cranky and full of despair about cute labels and the flavor of the month and wine spelled with dollar signs, developments over the past month or so have reminded me of what wine is and why I love it and why I do this.

The starting point was Allison Davis’ brilliant rant and primer and manifesto on the Hairpin blog, addressed to those 25- to 35-year-old women who like wine but don’t understand why they’re not allowed to like it the way they want. Why, as Davis wrote, they end up “smiling through a glass of something at a dinner party that [they] can’t pronounce and aren’t sure if [they’re] supposed to enjoy, instead of actually enjoying the wine.” More, after the jump:

Continue reading