Look for a slew of new bottles on the Spotlight page and new events in Orlando and Lakeland on the Classes & Events page.
THE DOLLAR STRENGTHENS
As of this writing the American dollar has started to gain strength against other major currencies for the first time in years. This is good news for fans of imported wines who will hopefully find prices starting to stabilize and maybe even go down a bit. The International Wine Cellar reported that despite the terrible exchange rate of 2004 the demand for imported wine grew to an all time high. Imports from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa led the way with double digit increases in the growth of their exports. France and Italy both saw declines in their exports to the US but curiously Spain, Portugal and Germany all posted significant increases.
This information is good news as we also get the news that California’s harvest in 2004 is the smallest since 1999. While there is still a significant glut of grapes and juice in California we are starting to see prices stabilize. According to my juice sources in California it is easy to find wine but very hard to find good wine. Many growers, who provided wine for Two Buck Chuck in 2002 and 2003 out of desperation, are now building wines for that level. This has created a shortage of good quality Merlot and Chardonnay in the $10 range.
THE CATEGORIES – A Matter of Taste
By the time you see this newsletter the new category signs should be in place for the Orlando store. There has been no change in the current arranging of inventory, just better signage to explain the organization of the wines.
As most of you know by now, after the first of the years I reorganized the store to create categories for how the wines drink, not by grape variety or place of origin. I have felt for a long time that traditional wine groupings made no sense in the modern wine world. Is it fair that in the old organization a high acid, un wooded Chardonnay would sit next to a full throttle, big, oak Chard? They may be made from the same grape but they certainly don’t drink the same way.
My second reasoning was probably the most selfish. The wine world has grown by leaps and bounds with regards to where wines now come from. Ten years ago we did not have wines from South Africa, virtually nothing from Washington and Oregon, Southern Italy and most regions of Spain. We found that consumers were not comfortable with a section called “South Africa” but if the wines are mixed into areas they are more familiar with then there is more of a chance that the wines will be picked up. To use my Chardonnay example, Catena, Napa Cellars and Glen Carlou all produce a wine that is basically the same. All three are medium body, medium oak and low acidity, all for the about the same price. By grouping the wines together, even though they come from three different continents, you now can grab a bottle wine reasonable confidence when you know you like its neighbor.
The signage is colorful, quirky and a bit abstract but my staff is ready to explain everything and of course we are always ready to help you when making your selections. These signs are already hanging in Lakeland.