Winebits 438: Regional wine, wine bottles, Total Wine

regional wine• Even in Nova Scotia: The government in the Canadian province will spend C$3.5 (about US$2.7) to help vineyards and wineries, an almost unprecedented investment in a part of the world where one doesn’t think of wine. But the provincial government sees wine as a way to create create jobs and boost economic development, which is something progressive and far-sighted governments do (right, Texas?). In fact, there are 11 wineries in the province, and the modern Nova Scotia wine industry is 25 years old.

• More than just a bottle: Will wine drinkers ever accept anything other than wine in a 750-ml bottle? Can the wine industry meet that demand? This is a chicken and egg question, and particularly since experts and consultants insist wine drinkers want something else and consumers keep buying wine in the traditional bottle. The Wine Intelligence consultancy parses the issue, and realizes that “part of the issue remains one of cost. One [750-ml] bottle incurs less dry goods cost than four mini [187.5-ml] bottles, and price sensitive consumers have historically been reluctant to pay more (relatively) for less.” In other words, wine drinkers don’t want to pay more for convenience, and this doesn’t take into account that smaller sized bottles (as well as cans, boxes, and what have you) have usually been used for inferior wine.

• Total Wine changes: The man who runs the country’s biggest liquor chain is stepping down to go into politics. David Trone, who started Total Wine with his brother Robert and led it to almost $2 billion in sales and some 120 stores, is leaving to go into politics. He was an unsuccessful congressional candidate in Maryland this spring, and says he wants pursue a career in public service, which may include another congressional run or a presidential appointment. This is intriguing news, and not just because of politics. Trone, whom I have interviewed, is one of the smartest retailers I have met, and Total’s success owes much to he and his brother’s vision. If he isn’t there, can Total continue to grow?

2 thoughts on “Winebits 438: Regional wine, wine bottles, Total Wine

  • By John Slattery -

    Dear Mr. Curmudgeon,

    I’m not sure why you feel the need to praise the Trone brothers. Your angle for finding inexpensive wine is awesome but you’re also glorifying Gallo and Total Wine, the same people who make it harder and harder to find what we all could use a little more of, GREAT WINE. Like you had mentioned before, big wine will soon control what we drink and at what price point we drink it at.

    John Slattery

    • By Wine Curmudgeon -

      John, don’t you think it’s impressive that the Trone brothers have managed to put together an almost national chain despite the three-tier system and 50 laws for 50 different states? And how anyone thinks that I glorify Gallo is beyond me. Just ask the people at Gallo, who have more than once taken exception to what I have written about their company. And calling Barefoot “technically competent, if not very interesting, wine” is hardly giving it 99 points. My job is write about the wine business, and to let people know what’s going on. Because, otherwise, how can anyone make an informed decision?

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