Thursday, November 13, 2014

BRAMBLES: A Harvest of Values

 Tech savvy millennials don't use competitive on-line wine purchasing like us older boomers, so says a current wine marketing study from Cal Poly SLO, as reviewed in a current Wine Spectator issue. The overwhelming majority of on-line wines purchased appears to come from an older demographic that has not grown up with the internet, but would seem to have more willingness & confidence in taking an informed chance purchase of a yet untasted product that is shipped to our door.

Shipping costs, interstate direct sales restrictions, and waiting for a signature required delivery are some of the shop-restraint reasons cited by the younger wine generation.  It appears that these social networking consumers like to buy wine that they have a connection with, that is a product they can see and taste. In spite of a massive amount of credible wine information from numerous sources(blogs, publications, regional competitions, etc.) available, younger wine enthusiasts seem to want to experience a known and trusted liquid commodity. Perhaps even peer pressure and trend setting marketing also influence their non-buy decisions. Nationally, on-line wine sales show consistent annual growth, yet make up only about 2% of total wine sales according to the biggest e-commerce retailer,'s Michael Osborne.

A long-established three tier system of alcohol producers-distributors-retailers and the sovereign regulations within each individual state still remain restrictively in firm place.  As a result, even with the growth of on-line wine sales, more than 80% of all wines sold in America continue to be sold by brick and mortar retailers. In an effort to break out of my internet purchases, I recently shopped the surplus and over-run inventories offered by a local retailer, Grocery Outlet.  Offering a broad selection of discounted brand names I have not before seen, I purchased a number of selections for intended everyday enjoyment with the hope of harvesting a few values. 

  • Gunn Estate 2012 Pinot Noir Marlborough(New Zealand)dark garnet hue, aromas of dried black raspberries and boysenberries raced across the palate with good acidity, notes of cherry skin and fine grain tannins, ending bright with a moderate finish. Bargain retail: $6.99

  • Mosaic 2012  Zinfandel Russian River Valley(Sonoma County) from the Wilson Artisan Wineries group, so they know something about the local varietal. Bright, light ruby on sight, it offered stewed red and black fruits on the nose, a hint of smoke and spice. Bargain retail: $7.99

  • Gerard Bertrand 2010 Corbie'res(France) generous black fruit on the nose with a little spice, and dry wood, offering opulent dried black fruits, tea and licorice on the palate, filling the mouth to pleasantly linger; it drinks so much richer than the discounted price. Bargain retail: $3.99!!
When I returned to Grocery Outlet to purchase more, many of these discovered wines were unavailable, having sold thru their allotment. Just like our recently completed wine grape harvest, the search for the very best selections, the best of seasons will continue.  Attention now turns to the wines of our celebrations for the end of season holidays; as wine lovers can continue to enjoy searching out the retail/ on-line selections to find their very personal harvest of values.

Cremant d'Alsace or Beaujolais, anyone?


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