The marketplace is a complex and sometimes brutal arena that dictates how much that 93 point, full-bodied shiraz with notes of cherry and a nose of spice is be priced at, and whether that price will lure the consumer enough to give it a sample. Environmental changes seem to impact grape production and taste almost as much as this depressed economy. More expensive wines may put consumers off their meals, however studies demonstrate people tend to equate higher priced wines with having better taste, even when blind taste-testings prove price a thin correlation. Governmental regulations have influence as well, for example, when France dictates where the Champagne region should expand. And effective marketing, which is crucial in the wine industry, must be given allotted its due weight.
Americans seem to be shifting their wine tastes and purchasing power away from traditional European wines to those from the newer growing regions of Argentina, Chile, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Boxed wine sales appear to still be strong, indicating a recessionary “trade down” effect is still holding (where buyers save money by trading quality of an item for price.) However, growers and producers are fairing poorer than consumers, as good wines are being priced down to maintain a competitive edge. It is still the time to look for the steal on the Premier Crus and Châteaux that have been traditionally out of reach. For the time being, it remains a buyers market.