Winebits 273: $10 wine, Whole Foods, $500,000 theft

? Consumers still want $10 wine: Most of the wines that made this year ?s IMPACT ?s Hot Brands list, which identifies the top growing labels in U.S. stores, cost $10 to $12. Said the report: ?The results clearly indicate that consumers continue to gravitate to the $10-$15 area at retail. ? These wines all sold at least 250,000 cases, and the criteria for making the list depend on how long the label has been around, but emphasize growth from year to year. The names of the brands are behind a paywall, but it almost doesn ?t matter what they are ? price is what counts here, and consumers have apparently found their happy place and aren ?t leaving.

? How Whole Foods buys wine: W. Blake Gray interviews the specialty grocer ?s Northern California wine boss, Joseph Kaulbach, which is a coup itself: Whole Foods doesn ?t often agree to those things. But the piece is also worth noting for Kaulbach ?s emphasis that Whole Foods, in its approach to wine, is a grocery store first and foremost; that Three Wishes, its version of Two-buck Chuck, exists because Two-buck Chuck exists; and that the northern California market is unique, and especially when it comes to defining local.

? The great wine robbery: As if the Australian wine business didn ?t have enough problems, how about the theft of almost 4,700 cases of wine, worth A$500,000 (US$517,000)? The thieves had their own trucks and forklifts to move the wine, and their own warehouse to store it, say police, who seemed impressed by the effort. Hence, consumers should be wary if they ?re approached by someone on the street who offers to sell them discounted Aussie wine with a wink and a nod, or looks and sounds like Michael Palin.

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