(Dedicated to two fine oenophiles, Anadyr and JerryCoin)
With a few notable exceptions, a distinct mood of high seriousness has fallen upon Insiders discussions recently. Let me endeavour to inject a little levity (and perhaps interest) into proceedings.
The FT recently carried a piece on the following theme: "..even if prices are off their peaks, the wine market in Asia is booming."
Perhaps not the most eye-catching of headlines, I agree, but the piece itself carried some fascinating nuggets.
1. Berry Bros & Rudd (London wine merchants) hit its three months revenue target after just twelve days after opening in Hong Kong - where consumption has doubled since the city abolished duty on wine in 2008. Small wonder then that Hong Kong's growing army of wine merchants dream about what might happen if China - which levies a 48% tax on wine (by value, not volume) - were to follow suit. Given the mainland's sheer size, this is something wine drinkers everywhere might want to think about - and fear!
2. Data from California's Wine Institute suggests that Vatican topers currently lead international ratings at 73 bottles per head annually (even more last night!!); the British weigh in at 29 bottles and the Americans at 13 bottles, whereas the Japanese consume just fewer than 3 bottles a head.
3. Even if China started drinking at the Japanese rate the country would suck in another 3 billion bottles from the international market, or about one sixth of the world's current production excluding China's own production, from the 3% it drinks now. And what if mainland China took to wine like Hong Kong, at nine bottles a head. In that scenario, a third of the world's wine supply would be needed.Globally, wine output has not been rising much, if at all. A China surge has the power dramatically to change/damage the market.
4. Asian wine demand for the top Bordeaux names has already lifted by a third within four years, even after a one quarter fall from the 2011 peak. Any broader surge in demand, perhaps from China, must also lift mid- and low-end prices. Wine drinkers, the Vatican included, have been warned!!
(The inevitable consequence of these trends, already visible, is sales fraud. When I was in China last year, an article in one of the Shanghai daily's reported the unfortunate case of a wealthy local entrepreneur who thought he had purchased 500,000 bottles of premier cru claret, only to find - to his considerable chagrin - that, if true, this would have exceeded known production figures at a stroke)
Enjoy your tipple while you can, chaps!
Very interesting and scary. We could cut into the U.S. trade deficit, lol.
My wife will kill me if I buy any more wine, but maybe this will give me ammunition to stock up just in case. My current inventory is about 400 bottles, but maybe I can tell her it's an investment since prices would likely go up if China starts consuming more wine.
I'm sure our 5 nights in Paris will likely raise the French average by a few, haha.
Dear Arkwright, thank you for keeping us bottled up as far as wine goes. Much appreciated. And timely too.
The secret is to have a good friend who owns a vineyard and is still a good friend: My person of interest is a specialty surgeon and has a vineyard (in California) where he produces excellent reds and he is willing to share with me! He's clever and willing to hire the best to make the best. His wine growing region is one with many micro-climates and his 95 acres is planted with Rhone varietals that reflect that. We recently spent some time with him and the staff tasting the newest releases along with great food. One of his wines recently was awarded a score of 95 by Robert Parker.
Most of his wines are in the 50$ a bottle region so getting free tastes is my forte. And nearly impossible to find outside his winery or the local area. So I can attest to his uniqueness and the inability of other folks to copy him
'Tis a pity," said Lord Byron,
"Wine should be so deleterious,
For tea and coffee leave us much more serious."
Actually have been looking at the river cruises. Its a good way to do wine tasting in Europe as the vintiners have different expectations than the US ones when folks are tasting.
some specialize in stopping at the vineyards for wine tasting. The chef also shops at each stop to pick up local ingredients and cook the regional seasonal special dishes.
No problem Jerry. We have a TJ here in Nashville, but thanks to the ancient laws on the books they can't sell wine, and neither can the other grocery or drug stores. I've tried a couple of the Australian chardonnay in the box and they were pretty good. So every time I go to Atlanta I normally come back with a case or two (some 2BC and a mixed case of some of their other good US/French/Italian selections.
When we went to Napa last, the first thing we did was stop at a Beverages and More liquor store and bought a heavy duty Styrofoam 12 pack wine bottle mailer in a heavy duty box. We had no trouble filling that will great wines from around Napa and since we flew on Southwest, that box became my second free checked bag (not sure if you ever fly on Southwest or not).
Amazing differences state-by-state for the sale of alcoholic beverages!
Best by far is NH.
There is nothing like the liquour control stores there where they negotiate with the vendors to sell a certain percentage of wines in each category. So if a vendor wants to sell alot of their cheaper wines, they also have to offer a similiar amount of the premium wines and very good prices. When I lived there, out-of-state friends and family would drive there and stock up.
We can arrange that, for sure. Just let me know when.
Also Trader Joe's has a very fine selection of US and International wines for around ten bucks or less, and they are constantly getting new ones, so if you find one you like, grab a few, cause they might not be there that long! We had a great GSM from France that was 5.99 and gone in a few weeks as word got out. Alas, we were bereft!
PS: Safeway often sells wines at near cost when on the 30% off sale--the ones that are not offered at the six bottle discount are the ones, and are great wines too. They are paired with Von's, and I assume there are no Von's in your neck of the woods?
We have a supermarket chain here called SaveMart. They offer 4 bottle discounts. I also like looking at wine at Trader Joe's, and love buying wine at Costco. Sometimes they'll get in a really great vintage that's only maybe $8/bottle and when they do, I just keep buying it until it's gone. Last weekend we had Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Cab (2010) that was very good, and not expensive. Their Summation is good too.
Anadyr, I'll look up your friends vinyard, prior to the next time we head over to Paso.
Thanks Pluto. By the way Grocery Outlet (there's one in Paso) is by far the most interesting wine store I have ever been in: many of the best San Luis county wines are there at steep discounts: Ballistic Zinfandel by Tobin James, which retails at 18 is around 11 dollars for example. We got just a Grocery Outlet here in MRY and I have not been in yet, and if the zoning gurus agree (never a sure thing) we'll have a BevMo soon too. Hallelujah!