Competition, price and why cheap wine will never be profitable


Have you ever tried to buy a mobile phone on contract? Or choose an energy supplier? The pricing structure is deliberately complicated, making direct comparisons incredibly difficult. And the various suppliers NEVER compete on price.

This is, from their perspective, a sensible choice.

As soon as one player comes in with simple, understandable pricing, and begins to […]

Bordeaux prices, then and now

Was Bordeaux more affordable in times gone by? With the help of a 1909 price list from Berry Bros & Rudd and the website, I thought I’d find out.

Here’s the 1909 BBR Bordeaux list, with prices in shillings per dozen (there were 20 shillings in the pound, until 1971):


Ch. Talbot … … … … 30/-
Ch. Pichon […]

The wine trade bubble

I love the wine trade. It’s fun, full of interesting people, and it’s incredibly open and friendly.

But it is a bit of a bubble. We talk to each other all the time. We assume everyone is like us. And as a business, it’s not so sharp. It’s more like a group of hobbyists.

The chief problems: […]

How much can we drink without risking our health?

Lots of chat on the internet today about a study that has just been published in the 0pen-access version of the British Medical Journal. (Article is here.) It made front-page headlines in The Daily Mail, a British tabloid newspaper targeted at right-leaning women, and designed to keep its readership in a state of heightened fear about […]

How to manage a Champagne brand, some thoughts

I’ve been thinking a bit about wine branding recently, and specifically about Champagne brands.

The large Champagne houses are skilled brand managers. It has taken a lot of hard work to get Champagne positioned the way it is now, occupying an elevated space in the wine world, and much of the work has been done by […]

Bordeaux pricing is actually all about sex

Let’s talk about the pricing of top Bordeaux wines.

It’s the subject of intense current discussion, but I think there’s some misunderstanding here. We’re not just talking about the price of wine. At the high end, it’s rather more than this: it’s a discussion about sex.

High-end fine wines are an example of a Veblen good. Named […]

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 […]