Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: What the New Year Holds for Colorado Wine

Friday, January 9, 2009

What the New Year Holds for Colorado Wine

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has a few wise words for the New Year: "As for resolutions, Colorado has 72 or so wineries. How many of them one, can you name, and two, have you visited? Make a decision to see more of Colorado Wine Country in 2009, and get to know the winemakers."

Excellent advice. As the Colorado Wine Industry comes of age, there are more and more vintages worth trying. We have a resolution of our own for the industry:

That out-of-state reporters, after saying "Colorado Wine Country," will stop using the phrase, "Yes, Colorado." We've seen this used a couple of times in news articles. It's breathless, disingenuous and condescending all at the same time. There's wine in all 50 states, now, as Time Magazine recently pointed out -- so don't act shocked when there's decent wine to be had on something other than the coasts.

But we digress. The Sentinel went on to evaluate global wine sales for 2009. It corroborates other stories we've seen. High end wine isn't moving as fast as the cheaper stuff. The Sentinel writes:

"[We're not in] another capital-D depression seemed to be the general assumption, although there was obviously a wide-trending desire to hold the line on spending. That, of course, lends itself to the wine market, and a recent report on Wine Business News said savvy customers are looking farther and farther down the list of wines."

"Among its reports, Wine Business cited a story in the Los Angeles Times that said, “Sales of wine for $9 or less make up the fastest-growing segment of the wine market, while sales above that price are starting to trend down,” quoting Jon Fredrikson, a Woodside, Calif., industry analyst."

"This reflects what some local retailers have said, that bottle sales are up although revenue is down. Which means it takes several $6 wines to have the same income effect as one $20 bottle."

"That same story linked to an e-mail from Danny Brager, who tracks the wine industry in the United States for the marketing information source Nielsen Co., that said the wine industry’s “15-year bull run seems to have stumbled a bit.”

“The stumble is that while it’s growing, it’s not growing as fast as it was last year,” Brager said."

"And another story compared recent consumer trends to the dark moods following 9–11."

“We’re in a 9–11 mode, where people are hunkering down a little,” said David Freed, chairman of the Napa-based UCC Group, whose investments include hundreds of acres of vineyards in the Central Coast and North Coast."

"It’s not that people aren’t buying wines; it’s just they are buying lower-priced wines. Sales of so-called premium wines, the ones that once were in the $15–$20 range, have fallen steadily until now it’s the $5.99 to $9.99 wines that are making up the bulk of the sales."

"And many retailers are saying wines priced above $25 are moving sluggishly, if at all."

Many full bodied Colorado wines are priced within this range, so drink local this year. And visit those winemakers!

You can read the rest of the Sentinel article here.

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