Monday, March 22, 2010

Time to Wine is Here!

With so much contradictory information being passed around regarding how our economy is doing I felt it was time to do a bit of research as to how the wine industry is fairing through all of this.

It has been a long time coming. Wine has become a part of the fabric of American culture. In 2005, for the first time, wine passed beer as the alcoholic beverage of choice by adults in the US. Gallup Consumption Habits poll found that 39% of American drinkers consume wine most often, and 36% consume beer most often. The fastest growing segment of the population moving toward wine is between 21-30 year olds. I find this very interesting and we see this holding true in our own business. When Mercy first opened up 7 years ago the average age of our guests ran from 35-55 and today I would say it is between 25 and 50. Younger people are showing an interest in learning about wines from all over the world.

Another factor that will continue to impact the American wine industry in a major way is the little publicized Supreme Court ruling allowing wineries to ship directly to the consumer across state lines. Prior to this, wineries were only allowed to ship direct within their own state. As more of the US population become introduced to wine and these people discover “gems” that they like the trend for buying directly from the winery will increase. It is believed that this will become one of the biggest growth areas in the wine industry, selling direct. It will certainly never overtake the 3 tier distribution system. While that part of the market is consolidating the direct sales portion is opening up and seeing nice growth.

With the economy being what it is and the days of big corporate expense accounts being over people are looking for great wine values. This has moved people to look at emerging areas such as Walla Walla Washington which is producing tremendous wines for great value. Also looking offshore at areas like Spain, Argentina, Chile, South American which produce fabulous wines at a great price. All of this pushing the new wine consumer to explore and discover what they like.

We pride ourselves at Mercy at being able to find great wines that represent good value to our guests. Vincent and his team are tasting a dozen wines a day and very few make it to our list. We are glad you are part of this great journey of WINE! Most of the world has know of this journey for ages and nice that the journey of wine has become part of the mainstream of American culture.

Come to Mercy and let’s do some exploring!!

Glen Agritelley