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The Wilder View

10 ways to save on wine; restaurants deplete wine inventories

A piece from the WSJ on ordering wine in a recession:

  1. Skip wine by the glass. Restaurateurs like to make enough on a single glass to pay for a whole bottle, which is great for them but not so great for you. And it wouldn’t be so bad except that so many wines by the glass are poured from bottles that have been open for too long and mistreated after opening.
  2. RW: This is interesting. Check the vintage closely. Most wines are meant to drink young and fresh and many restaurants, especially informal restaurants, don’t keep their wines in perfect conditions. Our guess is that many restaurants these days, facing slumping demand, are in no hurry to replenish their inventory of wines with more recent vintages. That means wines that should have been drunk a while back are still being served.
  3. Bypass the second-cheapest wine on the list. The least expensive is actually a pretty good deal at many places.
  4. Scope out the owner’s passion for value. If there are, say, a dozen wines from South Africa on the list and no more than a handful from anywhere else, chances are the owner knows and cares about South African wine — and therefore is more likely to know good values from there. While we are big fans of Chilean wines for their taste and value, we have seen far too many lists recently with just one Chilean wine on the list and it’s usually inexpensive. It’s clearly there as a “value wine,” but our guess is that the owner doesn’t know anything about Chilean wine and therefore honestly has no idea if this particular wine is a good value or not.

5. Avoid the Chardonnay tax. Chardonnay is America’s favorite wine. Just about everybody loves it and feels comfortable with it, which is why the Chardonnays on so many lists are grossly overpriced compared to other wines.

6. Never order Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. Don’t ignore house wines, by the bottle or in carafes. People who travel around the world often tell us they wish more American restaurants offered the simple, inexpensive and delightful wines that seem ubiquitous in Europe and elsewhere. We agree. Look for half-price deals. If you missed the Wine Events recently listing a few of the restaurants offering, say, 50% off every bottle on Mondays, drop us a note and we’ll send it along. But that listing was just the tip of the iceberg. This trend is sweeping the nation. Read the rest of the article here. I found number 2. (above) particularly interesting, since restaurants drawing on their current inventory of wine is a microcosm of firm spending at the aggregate level.

Businesses all over are slashing new orders and drawing on existing inventories. Inventory to sales ratios continue to climb, indicating that businesses overshot their build of inventories; they face worse-than-expected sales, and production has likely not fallen enough to meet demand. Firms are likely to draw down inventories in coming quarter(s), and GDP will fall accordingly.


Originally published at the News N Economics blog and reproduced here with the author’s permission.

One Response to “10 ways to save on wine; restaurants deplete wine inventories”

Lew GreenMarch 13th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

RGE’s credibility just rose another notch in my book for this brutal honesty about Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio! A $30 pinot grigio is a ridiculous. This varietal is a delightful, easy drinking, food friendly and CHEAP everyday wine in Italy! Over $12 a bottle it ceases to be delightful! Santa Margherita is not even a particularly good PG.I’ve had people in the wine business tell me they couldn’t sell a certain wine until they _doubled_ it’s price. Maybe this was one of them.Chianti should be cheap too! Buy Remole for $10. Expensive Chianti (sangenovese) is not called Chianti — It is called a Super Tuscan or Brunello.Italy’s economy in the ringer, and they are cutting prices to keep exporting their fantastic wines, condiments and cheeses. “Le Volte” is now at just $30 even in pricey Hong Kong — and can be found in the USA in the $20’s. This is a sensational, drink now Italian red from the makers of Ornellaia. Buy a case!

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