Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Christie’s sets one wine record, blows another


Christie’s auction in Geneva on Tuesday claims to have set a world record price for a bottle of red Burgundy. A  U.S. buyer bought the 750 ml bottle of 1945 Romainee-Conti for $123,889.  But the house failed to sell its showcase lot of the auction — 315 bottles representing every vintage from ’45 to ’07 produced by each of the first five growths of Bordeaux.

Meanwhile in New York on Saturday, the star lot – a complete vertical of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild spanning ’45-’07 sold to an Asian collector for $150,000.


Arbitrage in Bordeaux


New York’s branch of Christie’s is auctioning a collection of 64 bottles of Mouton-Rothschild on Saturday that spans the years 1945-2007.  It’s Geneva branch is auctioning a collection of 315 bottles spanning the same 62 vintages, but from all five first growths including Mouton-Rothschild on Tuesday.  (See story “Mystery collector to sell rare wines” [ID: nN10231397])

Saturday’s lot is selling for between $100,000 and $150,000, while Tuesday’s is estimated to sell for $696,000 to $929,000. And the price difference presents collectors with an arbitrage opportunity.

from Leslie Gevirtz:

Sparkling wine — pouring style without draining your wallet

Earlier this week, I wrote about alternatives to non-vintage and cuvee Champagnes that can lend a festive atmosphere to any occasion. Below is a list of the wines that I mentioned, some alternatives and their suggested U.S. retail prices. Domaine Ste. Michelle Cuvee Brut  $12 Santa Margherita Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Brut  $17 Freixenet Cordon Rosado $10 Domaine Tselepos Amalia Brut $24 Gruet $14 Dom Perignon $125-$150
Bollinger RD 1997 $130-$150 Krug Brut Grande Cuvee 1998 $180-$200 Giulio Ferrari 1997 $100

There are many other sparklers that didn't make it into the story such as:  Lucien Albrecht ($19), Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco ($19) and The Chook, a sparkling Shiraz from Australia ($17).

Check Out Line: Would you like some wine with that weak economy?


wine1Check out the latest poll on affluent consumers’ spending habits.

Affluent consumers around the world may be worried about the economy, but they are still spending on items they value most: food, wine and dining out, according to a study released by HSBC Global Pulse.

Seventy-two percent of those polled said the amount of wine they drank had not changed in the past year, while 67 percent said their spending on wine was unchanged, HSBC said.

From the market to the vineyard


Lenny Recanati was a financier and banker but became a vintner for love, not money. Winemakers in Israel, like their colleagues across the border in Lebanon, have to contend with conflict as well as nature. The most recent release of Lenny Recanati’s Reserve Merlot 2006 was made from grapes from the Ella Valley near Jerusalem, instead of the Upper Galilee. The conflict in the summer of 2006 kept the vintners out of the vineyards for a month.

Check Out Line: Clink, clink! Wine consumption to rise


wine1Check out all the wine drinking going on.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans surveyed said they partake in wine on holidays and special occasions while at home, while another 58 percent drink wine at home with dinner on an ordinary night, according to consumer trend tracker Mintel.

The wine market has grown 20 percent from 2004 through 2009 despite the recession, but at the peak of the slowdown in 2008 it declined 3.2 percent, Mintel said. With consumers slowly feeling better about the economy, the firm expects the wine market to increase by 2.1 percent this year.

Restaurants fight recession with wine


wineWine sales at restaurants and bars are falling as diners trade down to less expensive options or skip wine altogether to save a buck.  But some restaurants are cooking up contrarian strategies to squeeze sales from the vine.

California Pizza Kitchen took its wine list more upscale and wine sales followed.

Constellation’s holiday drink sales less than stellar – CEO


FOSTERS/With so many forecasters talking about the 2008 holiday season in extremes (the weakest since 1970, one of the worst in modern times), it’s refreshing to hear an executive suggest that, ok, things were not great, but they weren’t horrible either.

That assessment came on Wednesday from Rob Sands, chief executive of Constellation Brands, when the world’s largest wine producer and maker of Robert Mondavi, Vendage and Ravenswood wines reported third-quarter earnings.  

Check Out Line: Spirited Sales


wine1.jpgCheck out rising spirits sales at Constellation Brands.

Today’s winner in the consumer products arena is wine, which looks to be a must-have item as higher gasoline prices demand more of consumers’ paychecks.

Constellation Brands, which makes Robert Mondavi wine and Svedka vodka, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on strong sales, and backed its full-year outlook.