Lots of people have asked me if my personal wine drinking and purchasing habits have changed due to the current economic downturn.
These same people have also asked for any advice on how they can continue to fit wine into their lives without blowing their tight budgets.
Well, you’ve come to the right place, I do have some ideas.
For me personally, I own a large amount of wine (about 600 bottles). Instead of going out and continually buying more (which is very hard for me not to do), I am drinking wine from my own cellar. However, wine is often sent to me to taste and it is important for me to constantly “work on my palette”. Getting and keeping your palette is a constant exercise with use it or lose it type consequences. It’s not unusual to find ten open bottles at a time over here, as tastes, sips and comparisons are made. For me it’s often business and all in the name of learning. So if you have wine at home, consider drinking it first before purchasing the latest and greatest vintage.
When I do purchase wine, I almost always purchase bottles by the dozen or half-dozen, where 10 to 20% discounts are offered. Of course you want to make sure you like the wine first, but purchasing in this volume can lead to significant savings over time. This is especially true for those of you who have favorite producers and consistently buy the same brand.
I have also only stayed with wine clubs whose wine’s I really, really enjoy. Make sure your wine club is sending you their best bottles and not the excess of what is not selling in the tasting room. I’ve seen this happen before and I have no tolerance for it. Your wine club members are your best and most loyal customers, they should receive top quality offerings.
This is also the best time to look into trying alternative varietals, often much cheaper than the old stand-bys. Believe me, I love my Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon but the good stuff can be very pricey. There has never been a better time to try wines like Albarino, Vermentino and Vinho Verde. Give them a try, you might be pleasantly surprised. Heed the words of Benjamin Franklin who said, “The discovery of a wine is of a greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.”
Support your local wineries, they need you. This puts money right back into your own community or state. It’s a win-win situation. Or continue to purchase wines from wineries that consistently offer good quality.
I have also stopped patronizing restaurants who gouge their customers with incredible wine markups. There are several great restaurants in my area who charge fair prices for wine and have minimal corkage fees. I really appreciate this and try to recommend these restaurants to as many people as I can.
Always remember, the highest priced wines are not always the best tasting. A $75 dollar bottle is not always better than a $30 bottle. The price is often just the dollar amount the winery needs to charge in order to cover high costs of land, equipment and salaries. Other wineries are often in better positions to offer lower prices for many reasons (i.e. land was purchased at a low price, they have few employees etc.)
Overall, there are lots of enjoyable wines available, you just have to be willing to try something new. You might be surprised at what you find.
Has anyone else changed their wine purchasing habits based on the current economy? Just wondering.