Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Playing Field May Have Changed A Bit..But You Still Have To Play By The Rules

I keep telling myself that I need to write something positive, uplifting…at the very least do some damn wine write ups but this issue has arisen so many times in the past week or two that I just had to address it. Unless you are residing in a cave you are aware that there are some economic “issues” going on, well with these issues come….more freaking issues, one of the big ones was even featured in the Food section of the Los Angeles Times Wednesday morning.

The article in the Times was about the glut of high end wines, specifically Bordeaux and Cult California Cabernets and restaurants being offered these rare wines that before the turn in the economy, were nearly impossible to get. Not only are these wines being offered to places that never got them before but these restaurants and retailers are free to take as much as they want! We’ve been hearing the same from customers that are on winery mailing lists, where they were once given one shot at acquiring new releases they are now getting follow up letters telling them that such-and-such wines are still available. So after reading the article I was like, “well, no doi” when things get tight people buy less expensive wines….newsflash? I think not

These stories are becoming redundant and only the truly delusional believe that high ticket items are going to fly no matter the economy…(coughing) Reganomics, Trickle Down…(end coughing) and in the case of wine I see this is a day of reckoning for those that were charging insane amounts for their wines in the first place. Just because your brand spanking new winery is right down the road from whichever cult winery does NOT give you the right to charge over $100 for your first vintage…no history, no following, no working your way up the ladder? Well…then NO! Bugs the shit outta me, just in case you couldn’t tell….hey, I sat next to Jennifer Aniston at a restaurant once, (a meal my husband still refers to as, “The night we dined with Jennifer Aniston”…tard) so does that mean I can now like charge millions of dollars for my time? See, sounds silly when I say it right?

So are those wineries the reason for this post…nope, going after a group I have never gone after before, and in fact hope not to again…my fellow retailers, sigh. The reason….allocations. Okay so times are a bit tough, I know this and we all have to do what we need to do deal with the shift, if that means cutting back on high end wines….I get that, if it means you have to jump in bed with the “Big Guys” for those give you a case on five deals, well do what you have to, but please keep in mind….the choices you make now are going to affect the options you have later…don’t want to hear people whining about the fact that some of those limited items not being offered to them…um, der?! You know how this works kids, your support is rewarded with gems….you pull back on that support, well them gems….they aren’t coming your way.

Twice in the last week I have heard about my fellow retailers pissing and moaning that some of their allocations of super rare wines have been reduced, well I could understand that if it weren’t for the fact that you cut back like half of the skews you were getting from the distributer or importer. What did you think was going to happen? Were they going to keep floating you those items, (that they could easily sell to all one place if they wanted) while you continue to slash your inventory and pass on some of the lesser allocated wines? How does this make sense to you and in what way is that fair? These allocations are done the same way we retailers do it, the rare items don’t go to the jackhole off the street that comes in just looking for that wine, and that wine only….you give those special wines to the people that support the store, buy things other than the rare and limited we don’t like cherry pickers now do we? So quit cherry picking and quit bitching because you’re starting to piss me off.

If you take a pass due to slower sales, do so but do so with the understanding that it will affect what you will have access to in the future, hell it could affect what we all have access to….importers bringing in less, the wines going to other more “thirsty” markets, scary thought non? So, okay the wines may sit on the shelf a little longer, might collect a bit of dust but when the pendulum swings back you will have them and your patience and support will be rewarded with future offers…. Kind of organic isn’t it

End of rant...

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