During this Coronavirus pandemic, so many things have changed around us in so little time people are just beginning to get a grasp of it all. From the way we grocery shop, get our hair cut (or not in most cases), to the way we worship, our world has been turned upside down and tumbled inside out. Staying home and sheltering in place is the new norm, as is cooking or getting take out from your favorite eateries. And when it comes down to our wine drinking habits, for many of us, it has become an unexpected eye opening adventure.
For those of us who have an extensive wine cellar, not much has changed and shopping not an issue. But for those who frequently dine out and are used to picking their wine from a restaurant menu, it has become a whole new experience. Those folks have but 3 choices to enjoy the Nectar of the Gods they have come to know and love. We will explore those options after these amazing facts.
Sales of red, white and rose wines in retail shops are up over 36%, while Sparkling and Champagne based wines are up a whopping 43% in recent months. After the Holiday season of wine buying and celebratory consumption, the opening months of the New Year for wine sales are usually weak as a watery cup of coffee. Yet once Covid 19 became a nationwide disaster, with restaurants forced to close their doors, many wine lovers were forced to change their buying habits. Retail shops are experiencing a boom like never seen before.
Retailers have revealed that the most popular price point for a bottle of wine is in the $20 to $30 range, up from $10 to $20. This suggests that people are willing to pay a bit more for enjoying their in home wine experience than previous data indicates because they are not paying for the sometimes insane percentage of restaurant mark ups on wine. I’ve talked to a number of people who are shocked when they go into a wine shop to buy something they normally purchase in a restaurant and are surprised by the low cost sticker shock on a wine they wouldn’t blink an eye of ordering at their local eating establishment. They now can easily buy that wine that was out of their price range on the menu for a fraction of the cost. Drinking better and saving money, who wouldn’t like that scenario. So as we can see, the best way to keep your wine fix ahead of the curve is by supporting your favorite local wine shop in these trying times.
If you follow any internet trends, it is amazing to see how many Wineries are posting ads offering their portfolio for sale, with free shipping included. Wineries around the world have had to change their normal business model, first because of the extinction of restaurant sales, and second, they have closed their doors to the buying tasting public. If at all possible, I urge you to try and support them by buying their products online if possible, hoping that when this pandemic is over, they will still be around to offer us their wonderful portfolio of wines.
Another alternative if you are not yet comfortable being in a public setting, safe, easy and convenient, there are many discount wine sites such as Last Bottle Wines, Wine Spies and Wines Till Sold Out who are showing extensive online sales. These sites are a wine shoppers dream, while many others that sell name brand wines, I don’t see them as a savings but more of a convenience for the ship it to my home kind of shopper. Deals can be had and it comes right to your front door, but you do have to realize that there is a brief week or two waiting period for your purchases to arrive, being that they use any number of nationwide shipping options to deliver your order.
Last but not least, restaurants offering curb side pickup or various food delivery options are now offering their wines for sale as well. Just as if you were dining there, it’s an all in one option. Though they may be discounting their offerings, it is the least cost effective method of enjoying a bottle of wine with your meal. A wine that may sell for $30 in a retail shop, many times is usually $60 to $90 at their restaurant. Even with them offering a 20% discount with takeout service, the numbers do not offer much of a savings. Convenient: yes. $$$ wise: no.
A glass or two (don’t tell my doctor I’m a 3 to 4 guy) of wine a day reminds us that one of our pleasures of life still exist, and over time, they will get better. Until then, drink, enjoy, stay safe and be healthy.