This week’s wine news: Importer Frederick Wildman invents perhaps the greatest winespeak term ever, plus wine country real estate is “sluggish” and discount grocer Lidl’s effect on pricing
• Bring on the winespeak! Frederick Wildman & Sons, in a news release of little interest to most of us, used the term “volumetric wine brands” to describe the cheap wine it sells, including Ruinite and Bolla. The Wine Curmudgeon read this and knew he had struck winespeak gold. “Volumetric wine brands” is the perfect winespeak term – confusing, completely made up, and having no real relationship to English as we know it. I understand that the company doesn’t want to call the wines cheap or supermarket or mass market, but volumetric? Why not just volume, to signify that it sells a lot of those wines? Is it any wonder I worry about the future of the wine business?
• “Sluggish” real estate? Has the pandemic done what no other economic force has been able to do – depress the price of California wine real estate? That may be the case, according to Decanter. A northern California Realtor told the magazine that the vineyard market was “a bit sluggish” overall. If true, this is groundbreaking, since prices have been going up for 20 years despite the dot.com bubble and the 2008 recession. Still, there is plenty of pricey land for those interested. Decanter lists three properties, and all appear to cost at least seven figures.
• Lidl and wine prices: Does discount grocery Lidl influence wine prices? Perhaps, if one can believe this study from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. It found that grocery retailers located near Lidl stores set their prices for key staple products up to 55 percent lower compared to their stores in markets where Lidl is not present. The study doesn’t mention wine specifically, but Lidl is famous for its cheap, quality wine in Europe. That’s why it has appeared frequently on the blog since it announced its U.S. expansion several years ago. But the company hasn’t been able to repeat that success here and has cut its growth plans; it recently listed much of its north Texas real estate for sale.