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bad wineIt seems like only a couple years ago we were reading a slew of nonsense in the press extolling the virtues of cheap wine always accompanied by the claim that there is no difference in quality between an $8 supermarket wine and an $80 Napa Cab. (See here, here, and here for examples of the genre).  Apparently we’re not getting the message.

According to data presented at Wine.com’s  annual conference for producers and distributors, their customers are trading up to more expensive wines. This is especially true of millennials contrary to data from other sources which has suggested less interest in wine among that highly coveted group of consumers. [There may be no conflict between data sources here since Wine.com customers may be a unique segment of the wine buying public)

As Rich Bergsund, the company’s CEO reported:

“…the site receives 70,000 daily visits and that last year 38,455 vintage-specific wine labels were purchased by nearly 320,000 Wine.com customers at $31 bottle on average.

But those bought by millennials averaged $33, although they purchase fewer bottles per order than their parents did.

As other recent data has suggested, growth in wine sales is happening at the premium level while the under $10 category is in rapid decline.

Drinking less but drinking better is a recipe for a better overall wine experience.

Of course there is no 1-1 correspondence between price and quality. There are pricey, bad wines and reasonably-priced gems. But on the whole, over the long run, and if you shop carefully, you will drink better wine if you spend a bit more. Millennials seem to understand that, at least those that shop at Wine.com.

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