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Taste and prices change. Quality doesn't.

by Bill Belkin,
Wines & Spirits Category Manager

I am very lucky in that on most evenings I can drink pretty much whatever I wish. Color, country, grape and price point – bubbles or sweet – I have it all. This comes from years and years of spending lots of time and money on my passion – wine. My selections have been carefully thought out and have been based on ageability, winemakers, vintages and wine types.

These days it’s very apparent that changing economic conditions, along with taste preferences (from oaky, buttery Chardonnay to un-oaked, for example) have become de rigueur in the retail wine business. Our managers and associates must thoroughly understand the lighter bodied, lower alcohol choices that so many of today’s palates demand. They must be well acquainted with “little reds” from Rioja and the off-dry Chenin Blanc from the Stellenbosch in South Africa (try the unreal Rudera with your turkey). They have to understand what “over extracted” means and why you may not like that.

The way I see it, the 95 point, $100 bottle of Cabernet is still easy to point to and say, “This will knock your socks off.” What’s more challenging is to find that $15.99 bottle that will also make your knees wobble. We can and will do that for you if you desire.

And herein is the…ahem…conundrum. Quality is still king. Bad wine at any price is still bad wine. When did simply OK become alright for the family table? We do not sell wine that normally retails for $3.99 because those wines are not exceedingly well made and by and large do not taste very good. They simply cannot, at that price point, deliver much complexity and flavor. Instead we have a number of great sales where we offer dramatic discounts on well-made, in-demand wines that many folks find are not on their “Monday, Tuesday” lists.

So hoist your “quality banner” when you come into one of our eight shops and remember to think about a wine’s sense of place and its “cents of place.” That way you have an excellent chance of being “wowed” at any price point you choose. Enjoy the season, and keep enjoying great wine!

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