Wine values in the modern economy

The worldwide economic status has made every one of us evaluate where we put our dollars. Now more than ever we are going out of way to find value in what we buy. This also applies to wine. No doubt about it, wine can be expensive. The operative word being ‘can’. There is opportunity to find value with wine, it just requires some creativity as we do our best to navigate through this world.

First off, the economic downturn has drastically affected the wine industry. Sales of wine are down at restaurants, wineries are going out of business, grape growers are feeling the pinch, and now consumers have been watching their spending habits. For many gone are the days of splurging on bottles, now it looks like the new sweet spot for wine values is the $15 to $20 dollar range. This is the area where a lot of producers are trying to hit. There is a lot of great stuff in this range, but of course there will be bad stuff too.

Wading through this area can be tricky, but thankfully much more skilled wine writers than me (although I think Spain has some good values) are weighing in on finding good wine deals. Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall Street Journal touched on some regions that you can find great value in their recent Tastings column – they weigh in with Chile. The WSJ even asked wine experts around the country for their picks on great values. Wine Spectator magazine has a breakdown too.

Finding wine values isn’t that difficult, you just need to know where to look. And in Seattle, we are fortunate to have a lot of great local places to find wine values. I’ve written about Seattle Wine Outlet, where you can find some good deals. Esquin in SoDo always has great deals and they recently opened up their backroom for some bargain buys. Pike Place’s The Spanish Table (I’ll be writing more about them soon) has all sorts of good stuff from the Iberian peninsula. Anson and Jenny at Picnic also have some nice buys on lesser known varietals and regions.

In this day and age, we’re working harder and harder to find ways to stretch our dollar. Food and wine can step into the realm of luxury, but it is still possible to keep things grounded and affordable. Good luck on the search, lots of people are looking out for you too.

Photo courtesy of Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times