The Tasting Panel magazine

Nov 09

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Page 4 of 92

4 / the tasting panel / november 2009 The word out there is that the current economic downdraft is having signifi cant impact on wine sales. A combination of factors is infl u- encing prices in the vineyards and at the point of purchase. The confl uence of a copious, ex- cellent vintage with softening demand has cre- ated a surplus of wine at every price point. For consumers this is a golden opportunity to stock their cellars with quality wines at bargain prices. The situation presents particular perils for long-established brands. It is tempting to mark down the inventory and blow it out at a discounted price—clear the shelves and set up for the next round. But wine is a different kind of item; in many cases, not selling immediately can actually increase its value later on. The position and stature of your brand in the marketplace can be negatively impacted by a fi re-sale mentality. Although it may be tempting to move that mountain of inventory as quickly as possible, there is the risk of doing permanent damage to your reputation and your standing in the market. The more prudent move may be to take the im- mediate hit and decide to sit on some of the inventory with the intention of offering these more mature wines at higher prices when economic conditions improve in a year or two. Yes, it's a gamble, but in many cases a very intelligent gamble. Many have worked long and hard to establish their brands in the premium or luxury market. An expedient, quick sale could easily undo years of hard work and taint your reputation for years into the future. It is better to suffer some pain now than to destroy what took years to build. From the Editor Sell or Hold? PHOTO: CATHY TWIGG-BLUMEL

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