Monday, June 2 2008
The Bad News - global warming, credit crisis, rising oil prices, housing starts down, ongoing war in Iraq, foreclosures up, nuclear arms in Iran, home prices falling, rumors of war in Iran, falling GNP, rising gas prices, Hillary, global warming. Ugh.
The Good News - Fine wine sales are up 7% over this time last year (Wine Business Monthly).
In discussing my idea for this posting, I was asked "Why is it good news when people drown their sorrows in wine?"
Frankly, this angle on the issues simply hadn't occurred to me. While there are those who may react to bad or devastating news in a bottle of Thunderbird, I doubt many are doing so with fine wine. I suspect the increase in fine wine sales is because, when bombarded with news that the sky is falling, people seek the company of friends and family. In days like these, people take care of their mental health by rediscovering the spiritual salve of a shared meal and good conversation.
More and more people are entertaining at home instead of eating out at fine dining restaurants. This bodes well for wine merchants, who can help people select a wine that best honors the meal they are planning as well as the guests they're inviting. It's much easier to spend lavishly on a nice bottle or two than to take guests to dinner. And our ultra-premium wines remain a relative bargain when compared to these fundamental food items (all data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site):
|Avg. bottle of pinot in our portfolio||$ 32.01||$ 34.02||6.3%|
|Gallon of unleaded regular gas||$ 2.28||$ 3.44||50.9%|
|Loaf of white bread||$ 1.00||$ 1.37||37.0%|
|1 lb. ground chuck||$ 2.50||$ 2.83||13.2%|
|1 lb. tomatoes, field grown||$ 1.71||$ 1.77||3.5%|
|1 lb. coffee, ground roast||$ 3.24||$ 3.44||6.2%|
As you can see, the price of premium pinot noir in our portfolio has essentially followed the inflation rate from 2005 to 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while gas leads the pack as we come out of the first third of the 2008 inflation race track, bread and meat are not far behind. Along with wine, coffee and tomatoes remain surprising bargains - good news for our vegetarian and caffeine fiend friends.
Though the BLS doesn't offer data on the cost of fine dining, anecdotal recounts indicate that, even when cooking for one, home-cooked meals are about half the cost of eating out. As this particular story indicates, meals at home cost less than prepared foods, even when said food comes from inexpensive restaurants and take-out places.
Enjoy life. Wrap yourself in an evening of good friends and good wine and let the good times roll. It's still an affordable alternative.
Inflation Busting Wines
- Heron, 2004 Chardonnay, now just $9.99/bottle! Very limited supply.
- Dan Gehrs Wines, 2005 Chenin Blanc "Pinnacles" $13.00. Less than one case left in inventory.
- Tudor Wines, Radog 2007 Gewurztraminer. $19.00 This is my latest favorite - a domestic version of this wine that is strikingly close to some of the best from Alace or Germany.
- Torbreck, 2006 Shiraz "Woodcutter", $20.95 - Classic jammy fruits and pepper spice make this a favorite with anything barbequed! Parker gave it 92, Enthusiast a 91. Seems to be a consensus.
- Roessler Cellars, 2004 Pinot Noir, Alder Springs. $42 A long-time favorite, this agey wine is now coming into its own. Though it will hold for years to come, it hardly punishes current consumption.
"Sorrow can be alleviated by a good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine."
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
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