Elizabeth Schneider at Wine for Normal People thinks there are too many wine brands.
I mean, I’m woman enough to say that even with knowing a thing or two about wine, I still enter wine stores and sometimes feel overwhelmed by the selection. I can’t imagine how intimidating it is for someone just getting into the stuff! It’s just getting worse too. Over the last decade the number of wines has proliferated and the choices of what to buy have become more and more difficult.
In retail markets, controlling as much shelf space as possible (to keep it out of competitors’ hands) is a strategic imperative. The best way to do that is to create new brands and product line extensions. Couple that with the increased sophistication of American wine consumers, which has led to the creation of innumerable small-production wines from the U.S. and the importation of wines from tiny appellations from all over the rest of the world. The result is a market sprawling from top to bottom with unfamiliar wines.
I’d bet all of that has changed and we’ve reached something like Peak Brand — that is, the time when there are as many brands as the market can support. The public appetite has clearly shifted from high-priced exotica to value, and that may push the whole retail supply chain toward higher volume/faster turnover wines. The result: fewer wine brands.
Anything else I can do for you, Liz?
UPDATE: Comment from Wine Whore leads me to believe that this posting can be interpreted as a dig at Elizabeth Schneider — at least, so far as I, in my dotage, understand the word “Snap!” Rather than delivering what those of us in the more Borscht Belt- influenced older generation would call a “zinger,” I linked to Schneider’s posting because she’s right. The the 40,000 different types of wine available in the U.S. are a barrier to entry for most consumers of wine. It seems, sometimes, like the wine business is trying to confuse people.
No disrespect intended, and I’m sorry if disrespect was perceived. Also, to cover my bases completely, I probably shouldn’t have referred to her “Liz,” either, since I don’t know if that’s a form of address she accepts. If she would like to refer to me as “Tommy” for a while to exact her revenge, I deserve it.
Finally, the increasing number of celebrities in the world is a source of recurring distress in my life. I honestly don’t know where they all come from, and am nostalgic for the times when being a celebrity required one to be actually famous.