Champagne, French binge, Chicago – sipped and spit

2413315515_bb2fc19014_mSPIT: Bling champagne
An unnamed source cites declines of 50-85% in champagne sales with pricey stuff hit hardest. The story by Alice Feiring in this weekend’s WSJ. magazine also suggest price wars may be imminent. (Lack of) Money quote comes from Roberta Morrell, a NYC retailer: “The trouble with dropping prices is how will they raise them?”

SPIT: reporting on Champagne
An article on criticizes recent coverage of Champagne’s 2009 harvest. Main quibble: “After the harvest there will not be masses of grapes left to rot on the vine.”

SIPPED: changes in Chicago
Sam’s Wine & Spirits closed their South Loop location last month and now will close their Highland Park store. Meanwhile, Illinois now has an increased tax on wine, rising $0.13 per bottle to $0.28. As a result, distributor Rocky Wirtz has sued the state. Five other states recently raised taxes on wine.

SIPPED: Binge shopping
Annual wine sales at big box stores in France bring out “legions” of consumers. Carrefour sold six million bottles during its sale last year. [AP]

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2 Responses to “Champagne, French binge, Chicago – sipped and spit”

  1. In regards to the Binge Shopping, the immensity of that number puts only one thought into my mind: I hope people are recycling or doing something creative with the bottles.

  2. The champagne thing is really quite foolish in the way that they are handling it I think. I am a youngish wine lover who has many friends who probably borderline wine people. They almost never buy champagne except perhaps for B-days, New Year’s etc. The cost is simply prohibitive to those that aren’t either a) wealthy, or b) really into wine. So if Champagne wants to move bottles they need to do so by convincing a new set of consumers to buy, and they need to do that by lowering prices.

    Realistically I can buy premier cru burgundy at auction for less than NV champagne, and that says to me that the latter is overpriced. If they lower prices, offer an option in the $15 range, then people will come and will eventually buy the better stuff.

    Apparently the model for big champagne is to reduce yields, tighten belts, and wait for economic boom times again. If they would follow a pricing cut plan they would have a host of new customers with ready money at hand when those boom times actually come. Instead this fine drink remains for most a thing of celebration, the wine equivalent of a noisemaker. I think that that is sad, and I think that producers have no one but themselves to blame.


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