Sunday, July 28, 2013

Do You Know the Location of the First Successful Winery in the US?





This week we're moving off the normal marketing, economy, and business issues and asking a basic question anyone working in the US wine business should know:"Where was the first successful commercial winery in the United States?" Do you know? I confess I didn't know for sure. I remember thinking Jefferson was a really important figure in American wine and he worked at establishing a commercial presence in Virginia early on, so maybe Virginia was first? Surely with the native vines in existence, there must have been a successful wine businesses established before the time of Jefferson?

I had this debate over a bottle of wine with someone smarter than I last week. The discussion of "firsts," depending on where you live and who is telling the story can change dramatically, so the interwebs - which everyone knows is the possessor of all that is true - can sometime provide false information. The reality is the real beginning of the US Wine business has been butchered in history books and folk-lore. There is however a definitive rendering of the subject.

If you haven't ever read A History of Wine in America, I highly recommend spending the time to do so. I've even linked a free Google e-book to the above title so you have no excuse. The book sheds a bright spot light on the subject and will have you the envy at your next party where you win the attractive table centre piece for getting the right answer. That said, I know many of you are Cliff Notes kind of people and wont spend time in the book, so if you want the shortcut to the answer, read on.
 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Is Demand for Wine Dropping?




I saw the above video last week referencing demand for wine and the title got my attention. Is the demand for wine really falling? When you watch the video above many people might think so, but I don't really put a lot of faith in LiveEx as a measure of demand for fine wine. This might be speaking to Bordeaux largely and LiveEx might have use in other areas but not for overall consumer demand.

Last week we did a version of a Mid-Year State of the Industry Blog, but in it noted that its hard to do a State of Anything in a blog so we left out consumer demand. With this video clip from Bloomberg hitting the interwebs, I thought it might be worthwhile to debunk the above perspective.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mid-Year State of the Wine Business


There are several thingies (......that's a technical economic term) that are happening right now that all link together in some form to drive components and the present direction in the wine business. Since this is a blog though, and blogs are generally top of mind and brief, discussing the state of anything is going to either violate the Constitution of the Blogosphere or the tenants of mildly meaningful research. Instead, I'm going to leave out a pantload (......that's another technical economic term) ... of discussion topics such as demand for wine, and go with the top 4 thingies worth pondering at this point in the year.
  • The first thingy is water. There isn't any as the video above portrays. That's not good. And it's not just  a Central Valley thingy. This water thingy is running throughout the Ag. and wine industry and will only get worse.
  • Second is the heat wave from the past week. Early discussions suggest the heat will reduce expected crop size by 10% plus or minus due to sunburn from the recent record heatwave. A related issue vis-à-vis supply is the size of the world harvest in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Third is rising interest rates. That does all kinds of thingies to the wine business.
  • Fourth: the world is shrinking and so is the market share for US produced wine.