Bordeaux: scoring and pricing

It’s primeurs at the moment. A time in the year when the wine world’s attention is focused on Bordeaux. After all, it’s the world’s most important fine wine region, even if it isn’t necessarily the most interesting.

So, some thoughts on two issues that get a lot of air time. Scoring and pricing.

Scoring. Most of the [...]

I hate half-price wines and would like to see the back of them

I hate half-price wines.

Of course, there’s nothing new about discounting being used to sell wine.
Many wine brands are priced with a view to being promoted. The wine might be listed at £6.99 and two or three times a year be discounted to £4.99.

Typically, the producer will agree to fund some or all of this promotion, [...]

Managing a wine retail brand: comparing Majestic and Berry Bros & Rudd

Yesterday I was contacted by a brand consultant who is doing some work for a wine merchant. He wanted to pick my brains. The conversation got me thinking about brand management, and specifically the management of a wine retail brand.

Two of the strongest wine retailer ‘brands’ in the UK are Majestic and Berry Bros & [...]

Why most wine blogs fail to thrive

There are lots of wine blogs out there, written by all manner of different people: wine merchants, wine producers, wine writers and, of course, interested amateurs.

Most – and even some good ones – fail to build any sort of audience. Why is that?

Here are my guesses.

Frequency of updating. If you are going to build any [...]

The mechanics of the £20 Taittinger offer

This is the time of year when the supermarkets try t0 outdo each other with special offers on well-known fizz.

I was surprised when I popped into my local Asda and found Champagne Taittinger NV for sale at £20 per bottle, with a maximum of three bottles per customer. I’ve heard from others that Sainsbury’s and [...]

Penfolds to price fix Grange?

Interesting article in the Drinks Business today by Patrick Schmitt. He has interviewed David Dearie, who is the new CEO of Treasury Wine Estates, which includes Penfolds, who make Australia’s most famous wine, Grange. Grange sells for much more in Australia, than, for example in the UK. This has resulted in grey market imports hitting [...]

A name for English sparkling wine – the Britagne debate

There has recently been some debate about whether or not English sparkling wine needs a name, prompted by the release of Coates & Seely’s new fizz, for which they have coined the term Britagne. Here’s my take, delivered in nine points.

It is an important time for English sparkling wine. New vineyards will soon [...]

Ban alcohol promotions?

Would it be a terrible idea to ban alcohol promotions?

I was filming again with the BBC today, on the subject of tactical brands (or trade drivers, or whatever you want to call them). These are inexpensive wines that are dressed up to look like, say, £10 bottles, and which are then sold ‘half price’ for [...]

Wine closures in the The Wall Street Journal

Coincidentally, the day after I returned from Planet Zebulon, where I’d been visiting Nomacorc’s headquarters, The Wall Street Journal ran a feature on the way synthetic corks and screwcaps have taken market share away from natural cork, focusing strongly on Nomacorc. You can read it here.

The article is pretty comprehensive, and contains an interesting graphic [...]

More intelligent analysis from Liv-ex, 2009 Bordeaux and the billionaire index

Interesting blogpost here from Liv-ex in which they show an amazingly close correlation between the number of billionaires (according to Forbes’ rich list) and the Liv-ex 100 index of fine wine prices.

They are smart enough to realize that correlation does not equal causation, and point out that fine wine prices rising alongside billionaire numbers doesn’t mean [...]