Is the Wine Industry Recession Proof?

Every year I head off to Napa for the annual Wine Industry Financial Symposium.  Hoping to pick up some new pearls of wisdom and latest industry trends, I left the symposium feeling quite positive about how we're running our business. It appears we're doing everything we shouldVeraison in the Vineyard - click photo to enlarge! during these tough recessionary times. It also appears that our type of winery, the family-owned, well-established, value-priced, quality-oriented, appellation-driven brand is perfectly poised to pick up some new business as consumers “trade down.”

The symposium is in its 18th year and is a combination of consumer data, financial experts, and industry surveys on the overall health of the wine industry. While a number of indicators point to the fact that wine is still a good business to be in, (better than say, automobiles or new home construction) it's tough and getting tougher each day. Big wineries, as well as small ones, are feeling the crunch.  

Cautious optimism was the mood of the day. 

“Trading down” was a major topic. A lot of discussion occurred about the future of the $100 Cab. Then again, I was in Napa, so I guess that's to be expected. (Admittedly, I felt pretty smug, since our Cabernet averages $22-$24.)  Statistics show that today's consumers are desperately seeking value, but this doesn't just mean price. They're changing where they shop and what they consider necessities. (I don't know about you, but there's no question that wine is a necessity!) Value is in vogue and so is frugality.  It's cool to shop at Costco.  And this is true across all income levels, even the most affluent.  But, Americans still love luxuries.  Unlike a costly vacation or major home improvement, wine is still an affordable luxury than provides instant pleasure—hallelujah!  

At the end of the day everyone agreed: every major recession has one thing in common. They all end.  So, while we're not out of the woods yet, it appears that the economy is getting “less worse.”  And, wineries that are “relevant” to today's consumer will fare the best. 

Now back to that $100 Cab.  I know of scads of reasonably priced, exceptionally delicious and very pleasurable wines to drink.  As a matter of fact, I have one right here in front of my nose.

And quite a few cases in the back if you want more.

| | Comments (5)


Leslie Author Profile Page said:
September 18, 2009 3:56 PM

I've spoken on here b efore about your wines and how I have a hard time finding them. But everytime I find one, it's like I've found buried treasure. I love your dry chenin blanc. If I ever get to a place in my life where I can afford $22-25, yours will be the first one I turn to.

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
September 18, 2009 7:10 PM

What an absolutely lovely way to start my weekend! Thanks for making my day Leslie. It just kills me that you have a hard time finding our Chenin Blanc as we have a good supply and it should be available nationwide. It just points to the problem that so many of us wineries face- distributors have too many products to sell and basically sell what they're pressured to sell or what's easy. Unless they actually present a wine to the account (which means tasting it with the buyer) it's very hard to get a shelf placement. In this case, I can only assume that the distributor salesperson isn't aware of the quality of our Chenin and therefore hasn't made an attempt to sell it in your area. If you give me the name/location of your favorite wine shop, I will contact our distributor to see if we can fix the situation! P.S. A request from you to your favorite retailer will help the process along.

Leslie Author Profile Page said:
September 21, 2009 8:00 PM

I'm working on convincing the class six on base. I usually hit the buy two button when I see your wines on wine.woot. That's where I was introduced to your blog and then your wines. Hoping to find more in the future!

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
September 22, 2009 9:51 PM

Thanks Leslie! P.S. What is class six on base?

Leslie Author Profile Page said:
September 24, 2009 10:46 AM

hehe the Class Six is the liquor store on an Air Force installation. On a naval installation it's called the Packaging Store. Not sure what the army calls theirs. But the class six here at lackland AFB is great except they dont carry your wines :)

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This page contains a single entry by Kim published on September 17, 2009 3:26 PM.

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