This week, Wine & Spirits magazine released its 20th annual restaurant wine survey. As usual, the survey is the usual once-a-year kiss-up to Sonoma-Cutrer as the most popular wine brand in American restaurants. But there is a nugget in the teaser to the press release that merits more attention than the release actually gave it:
Data suggests [sic] that fine wine sales remain essentially sound. Diners facing recession consider wine part of the meal rather than an
The release contained a quote from a restaurateur that “people are drinking the same amount of wine but spending less.” But then it dropped the point in order to heap praise on the supermarket wine brands that are distributed widely enough to rank highly in a nationwide survey like this.
The release as a whole missed the point of its own data.
It’s no surprise that people are “drinking down” and spending less on a bottle of wine in these tough economic times. But if these data are to be believed – and as suggested in the press release tease but not pursued – we’re not giving wine up altogether. Wine perhaps is no longer a “luxury item” to be enjoyed only on special occasions and deferred in tough times.
“Wine is a necessity of life for me,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote. Maybe Americans are beginning to agree with him.
At least, those of us still affluent enough to dine out.
The 20th annual restaurant wine survey is published in the April issue of Wine & Spirits.