Club Write-ups

Explorer Club
December 2022

Tim's Wine Market

One of my soft rules for club selections is that the wines must come from a brick and mortar winery. I use the term “soft rule” because in years past I would occasionally select a wine from a “virtual” winery, one that is not brick and mortar, if it was a particularly good value or it fit a theme. The problem is that virtual wineries rarely have a story to tell, which as you know by now is the DNA of TWM. Unfortunately the cost of wine production is going up so fast that few wineries produce wine that fits within the budget of selections mandated by this club. The price increases taken over the past three years by producers are a combination of macro market forces, the skyrocketing cost of making wine and consolidation at the winery level.

For the past few years weather has been a problem for producers around the world.  In addition to the impact of smaller harvests, wineries also have to deal with the high cost of inputs as well. Farming costs have more than tripled in the past ten years due to labor shortages, the high cost of fuel, fertilizer and other chemicals. At the winery inflation has had a huge impact on the cost of barrels, bottles, corks, capsules, labels and cardboard boxes for shipping. While it is possible to absorb these price increases for wines that cost $100+ per bottle, they are a significant increase for wineries charging less than $30 a bottle. Some wineries have told me their cost of packaging is more than the cost of wine if the value is under $15. All this means that to support family wineries we have to lift our budget to meet the price range where they can survive. 

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