I don't know about you, but with the Euro/Dollar scenario, an increase in gas prices and my grocery bill skyrocketing (despite similar buying habits), I'm looking at my life budget a bit differently these days. A few weeks ago I noticed it's actually getting to be cheaper to eat out than stay in! And I can't tell you how many wine blogs and articles I've read that talk about 'value wines' in a different or more concerted way. At the shop we're not sure how things are going to go this summer. We keep refilling the racks so we know we're still selling a ton of wine... Usually the summer in Boston is slower because people head to the Cape over the weekend. But - as I mentioned - with gas at $4/gallon, people may be more inclined to stay closer to home once the kiddies are out of school. We're not sure. But we're definitely choosing wines even more carefully. If a wine's price has gone up beyond it's worth, we're finding other options for our customers. That's just good business, I think.
Lately I keep wishing I had gotten in on the industry 10 years ago when I first got out of school and kick butt wines were $8-$10. I'd be tasting all sorts of phenomenal wines no one would have qualms about opening - now the "investment" is just too great. But I digress....
The good news about wine is that things will come back down - at least Old World wines. We're "suffering" because of the exchange rate, rather than because European winemakers have jacked their prices for the hell of it. What I don't understand - and I'd love to hear from some CA/domestic producers on this one - is why American wineries aren't taking full advantage of this opportunity to sell their wines at a more affordable rate, that is, keeping their prices more static this year. I know they are spending more on gas to get their wines shipped out, but I also know that companies are being much more efficient in their distribution system.
I don't have the answers on any of this despite all I've read and seen, but I'm curious to glean your feedback. What's your wine economy like these days? How has the global economic situation impacted - or not - your wine consumption, spending or sales/pricing strategy?