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hold onto your walletAt a conference for wine business financial officers, Wine Searcher’s Blake Gray reports that:

  • two-thirds of wineries in the U.S. plan to raise wine prices this coming year.
  • over 85% of wineries responding to a survey expect to see increased profitability.

As Blake notes, apparently we like paying more for our wine. This phenomenon of charging more for wine is called “premiumization”. He also writes,

“And, to be clear, “premiumization” also includes the concept of providing a better product for more money.”

I’ll believe that we I see it. Not to be too cynical but for many wineries if they can get more money for the same product, they will.

In the same report, there is a data point that suggests we might not see higher quality:

David Bowman, executive vice president of Jackson Family Wines, showed an interesting chart averaging the prices of the top 10 selling Chardonnays in the US that cost $11 or more per bottle. (It won’t surprise you to learn Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay is still the champion.) Some of the names on the list have changed from 2013 to this year, but the average price was key: it is $4 per bottle higher than four years ago. That’s a huge price jump, percentage wise, in just four years for a very significant market, as Chardonnay is still the country’s best-selling varietal.

So, has your average supermarket Chardonnay gotten that much better over the last 4 years? $4 per bottle better?

I didn’t think so.

On an unrelated matter, here is a useless fact to start your week. Have you ever wondered how many grapes it takes to make a glass of wine? Bob Hunnicutt has done the math:

A bottle of wine equals about six to eight grape clusters or 600 to 800 grapes. So that’s maybe 150 grapes in a glass. You get two or three bottles of wine per vine.

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