Winebits 455: Wine labels, Connecticut pricing, direct shipping

Cute labelsThis week’s wine news: Cute labels matter, plus more on the Connecticut pricing controversy and direct shipping in South Dakota

The cuter the better: Even in Japan, where the culture and the alphabet are far different than here, cute wine labels matter. Reports the Japan Times: “Wines produced in Chile, Australia and other New World regions are gaining popularity among consumers in Japan due to their reasonable prices and eye-catching animal logos.” The Wine Curmudgeon doesn’t know quite what to make of this, save to reiterate what I’ve written many times about cute labels, and to note that reasonable prices certainly matter regardless of culture and alphabet. One of the most popular Chilean brands, Condor, sells for about ¥580, a little less than US$6.

Joining the fray: A second liquor retailer has taken aim at Connecticut’s minimum pricing law, selling alcohol below the state mandated pricing. BevMax, 13 locations in Connecticut and New York, was advertising and selling liquor below the price set by wholesalers, an apparent violation of Connecticut law, reports the Hartford Courant newspaper. Says a BevMax official: “We feel that the law is unjust. It’s right to break an unjust law.” Last week, Total Wine sued the state to overturn the law, and has also been advertising its products for the state minimum. Late last week, the retailers said they would return to minimum pricing.

Even a small state: This story, about South Dakotans buying 1,158 cases of wine directly from the producer in the first year of direct sales in the state either speaks to the tremendous power of direct shipping or it doesn’t. That’s not a lot of wine, but consider that South Dakota has fewer than 900,000 people. But that still works out to about one-half bottle per legal age resident. So you tell me – is that a lot or not?

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