Member Inquiry: Personal Requests

This letter came in recently. “A friend asked my husband and my­self to a wine tasting at their home. We went to find a salesman from a German wine company showing his wines. They were medium to good but very expensive! We find the Wine of the Month Club has better value. It was not very infor­mative because the wines were from the same country and regions I have never heard of. There was one I liked very much and have been searching for it since but have been unable to find it!. Can you get it?”

To answer the question direct­ly, no, I cannot get it. In fact, the only place you can get the wine is from the company that was repre­sented at the tasting. Let me ex­plain.

There have been a number of “Tupperware party” type wine companies that have come and gone (I will not name names), all specializing in various wines. The most common specialty is Ger­man. Why?

German wines are easy to drink. They generally have higher sugar content and are light in acids and make a good first impression. Please understand that we also en­joy German wines and there is a prominent place in the wine world for them, but they do not have to command such a high price. Many of the wines these companies sell range from $12.00-$20.00 a bottle, and the minimum order is one case ($144.00-$240.00). An­other reason is the inability of thewine consumer to price compare. There are so many regional delin­eations in Germany that to even find a wine with the same name that these companies sell (I do not mean Liebfraumilch or Piesporter), would be a feat, let alone finding the same maker and vintage. In fact, many of these wines are pri­vate labeled just for the company who is selling them to you. They cannot be found in the stores. This is why you will riot find California wines sold this way. They are to easy to price compare and to easy to validate.

Many members have come to me and asked about the wine in the “blue bottle”. This is a merchan­dising trick that has impulse appeal and connotes uniqueness. The reality is that any winery can order blue bottles if they so desire. The color of the bottle is unrelated to the quality of the wine. What does the blue bottle really connote. Ex­pensive packaging that is passed on to us as consumers of these wines.

Why are they so expensive? Excessive shipping and handling costs, expensive bottles, 50% commissions for the salesman, payment for the wine that was poured at the tasting (you did not think it was free), and the winer­ies’ and marketing companies’ profit margin. Basically, there are, too many fingers in the pie.

Next time you are invited to a “wine tasting party” with a profes­sional salesman, remember what I have said and enjoy the ride!

 

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