Whence value?

I really enjoy American wines, but when I’m looking for an interesting wine for very little money, I never go American. I look at Spain, Portugal, Southern France, New Zealand and Australia, maybe even a small southern Italian producer. In my experience, $10 spent on a Spanish wine goes a lot farther than $10 spent on a wine from California, when you know where to look.

OK, but now the dollar is weak. European and South American wines are going to get more expensive. Plus, Australia is weathering a miserable drought, and predictions are that yields in 2008 will be half that of previous years. HALF?!? Yikes, people! According to Decanter, I needn’t worry because importers are swallowing the expense right now. But logically, it’s only a matter of time: all of my bastions of value are going to be getting more expensive. What’s a cheapo wine lover to do?

Dr. Vino addressed this issue last week, asking if California would drop the ball in reclaiming the one third of the wine sales in the US which are of imported wine. It seems like a perfect time for Americans to come back to US wines for their interesting value purchases. Will the consumer be offered great deals in these weak dollar times?

I do not have a good feeling about this, gentle readers. Two Buck Chuck aside (sakes alive, when will Trader Joe’s come to Austin?!?), my national brethren are not well known for bringing the value and the quality in the same bottle. But perhaps I’m in a rut. Perchance I have been turning a blind eye to the grand values America has to offer me. Let’s find out together, shall we, in a poll?

If I have not listed your favorite value region, please let me know by a comment and I’ll add it.

[poll=5]

0 comments

  1. Well, I HAD to comment, didn’t I? It was a surprise to me to realize that I no longer feel Australia and NZ deliver the best value any more. Too much mass produced wine at the lower end of the price spectrum. In Europe, however, as long as you stick to less-well-known appellations and grapes you can find some great wine for around $10. What is appalling is that this continues even as the dollar tanks and the Euro rises sky high.

  2. Dr. D, you didn’t have to, but I’m glad you did!

    I also had that realization that New Zealand and Australia seemed to be less of a perceived value to me these days, compared to that clever little $8 Savenierres I’m always looking for… but I wonder if that’s because what I value in a “value” wine includes a certain level of intrigue? I so enjoy trying new things that the few wines that really get me excited in Australia are unusual grape blends, and I still feel like you can find some nice value Pinot Noir in NZ…

    Also, I wonder how much longer we’re going to find those $10 gems from Europe — they’ve lasted so long as it is! Stock on wine imported to the US in May has simply got to be dwindling. I don’t care what producers in France say about assuming those costs, it’s bound to impact the market soon.

  3. Thanks for the feedback, Jack, but “North America All The Way” doesn’t rhyme.

    Are you drinking Chinese wine? I don’t see any in the wine stores I patronize here in Texas… do you have a favorite you could recommend?

  4. I tried to vote for Europe (I totally agree with the Doc) but my Firefox browser is having some difficulties with your site. I don’t know if it’s the redesign (which is sharp, btw!) or otherwise.

  5. I have to second Spain, Portugal and southern Italy. But don’t tell everyone! I agree. California’s ability and/or desire to produce $10> values is questionable at best.

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