Has inflation changed what wine you buy?

Curious just because I’m noticing myself changing purchasing habits. Last 3-5 years, rosso Montalcino was my favorite casual, regular red and was in $30 price range and brunello my favorite wine for cellar at $70-80/bbl

So sticker shock this year when 2022 rossos are routinely $50 before tax and up to $65 for my favorites and brunellos now reaching $100-120.

Finding myself rotate more into Barbaresco for cellar and Etna Rosso or Chianti Classico for casual red.

Also finding myself trying fewer new wines and sticking with what I know, was looking at a Riesling other day that was $40 in 2020 vintage but now $70+.

Would love to new wines in $30 range that aren’t simply yesterday’s $20 pre-inflation wines

Definitely changed.

Dominus and Spottswoode killed me first, then practically the whole lot of the Beckstoffer family of brands.

Burgundy at my price point requires I learn a whole new bunch of names!

It’s fine, that’s the way the market goes, but I do wish I could visit where I used to hang out more often.


Which Napa producers are you still purchasing from?

Not sure if inflation or just demand, but I stopped buying Cristal (maybe) and Vintage Krug. I’ve also stopped Ygay Especial since that jumped so much in 2012. On the bright side Burgundy has stabilized or decreased on older vintages and Bordeaux really dropped.

I can’t really speak to American wines because they mostly all suck.


It always has. Wines move into prices ranges I don’t want to pay for them and always will. I move on to other things. While I did notice a wider range of wines getting price bumps during the sort of coming down from the pandemic, I assumed it was probably not sustainable. It was too many, too much, too quick. And that’s what we are seeing.

I can remember Champagne having a similar campaign 12-15 years ago. They largely had to pull back from most of their steep increases within in a few years. At least in terms of the standard NV bottles from non-meme-stock producers.



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That’s a really weird example. Rosso and Brunello di montalcino seem to be among the least affected wines, I just sold a bunch of these wines in the past year or so and the retail prices now are very similar to what I paid for them.

Argiano and Altesino are still <$20 for Rosso and ~40 for brunello. I’ve seen a bunch of offers for il poggione for less than they were in 2017.

I bought 2002 Krug for about $280 a bottle from k&l

2011 krug is about 350, so maybe 25% more, certainly an increase but not huge.

Cristal went up more simply because 08 and 09 were able to be sourced during the pandemic so cheaply from restaurants.

Compare all these to burg price increases, which despite coming off the highs have ar least doubled at the high end. I bought all sorts of DRC rsv and riche for ~1k a bottle in 17-18, it’s 3-4k now. Rousseau CSJ, Ruchottes and Chambettin have all doubled in price since 21.

Quick look at a benchmark email from 2017:

2009 Mugneret Gibourg Ruchottes $425 (WSP low $1350)
1998 Rousseau Chambertin $950 (WSP low $3000)
1999 Rousseau Chambertin $1999 (WSP low $4850)
1999 Rousseau CSJ $925 (WSP low $3250)


Disagree with it being a weird example, given a number of vineyards that I have been buying consistently for years had significant % increases and the wine stores / importers I have talked to have been making the comment. But I’m not much interested in an argument.

Altesino and Argiano are amongst the larger producers, not sure if that insulates them more but either way cannot just generalize that out to negate price increases for others

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Same as Anton. Wine prices, in large part but not completely across the board, have increased over the decades I’ve been drinking wine more than the amount I’m willing to pay has increased. Top Napa, Super Second Bdx, Chave, Giacosa, Sassicaia, etc. all used to be at the top of my price range through most of the '90s. I didn’t really trade down categories over the years, but I did trade down producers as prices increased. So it goes.


Let’s look at some other producers, prices were all for current releases at the time.

Casanova di Niri 2017 $49, 2024 WSP low $55
Fattoria Barbi 2017 $45, 2024 WSP low $45
San Filippo Brunello 2017 $45, 2024 WSP low $43
Il Poggione 2017 $79 2024 WSP low $52
Sassetti 2017 $79, 2024 WSP low $49

The difference here may be which vineyards we are talking about. The ones you are quoting are all among the largest producers in the region. Whereas I tend to go for the smaller family run vineyards

Now, going to the point others have made, the smaller family run producers have been outrageously good bottles at affordable prices and it’s possible people are just waking up and buying more of them / causing prices to increase. Going to keep buying them because I love them just may not buy as many as before. So perhaps it’s not just general economy inflation

In which case, I’ll still be thankful I can afford some and they aren’t priced like burgundy even if more expensive than before

Barbaresco is just incredible value at $50-75 right now and I wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t last, but I’ll stock up now

If the prices at the cellar door are actually significantly increasing that could very well be related to inflation.

The example I think most applies to this query is the cellar door increase of Bouchard over the past few years. Used to grab cases of Monty for $450 and then it became highly allocated and the price went up 30-50% every year for 4 years. Now you’re looking at over $1k for Monty. That has absolutely slowed my purchase of Bouchard from 12b of each GC to 3b of only my favorites.

Not what, but how. I buy similar, but on the auction sites more now than ever. Same wines, lower price than release.

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I guess the question is whether you are attributing this to wine price inflation or general economic inflation. If the latter, then are we talking about inflation in the US or Italy? And how do you know it’s inflation and not simply price increases? If the former, I’d agree with those saying this is, and long has been, par for the course.

I also rather agree with Michael that most categories shouldn’t be and don’t seem to be increasing in price right now. There is plenty being said about the current tough wine market here and elsewhere. Hard to see how you push prices up in that climate. Some of the regions which have increased rapidly in recent years seem to be in the midst of or heading for a correction, e.g. Champagne.

As for the Tuscan producers you mention as having increased, perhaps they (and/or their importer(s)) have seen the growth in other regions over recent years and feel they can ask for more. If so, that could be a risky strategy if an otherwise softening market won’t bear the increases.

In other words, you can barely afford Bouchard now? :joy::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Had to stop for now buying from Ceritas and Arnot-Roberts. I love both very much, but just can’t swing those average bottle prices this year.

Taking a page of the Roy Piper full transparency playbook:

I myself released my first ever Red Blend in my spring release. I purposefully kept price really low at $17 for members. Interestingly, didn’t seem like it drove that much extra sales, which surprised me. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly outsold the regularly priced releases, but not by a factor of more than perhaps 2x. This would indicate that the mailing list members seem to be doing OK, still. I’m taking that as a positive! :+1:

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(and), just wait 'till the tariffs get reinstated!

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Yep, it’s sad. :cry: With the price increases over the past few years, I’ve had to rethink my buying strategy. Also I’ve started prioritizing quality over quantity, so I buy a lot more 1-3 now focusing on the top producers and Bouchard only really makes the cut anymore for posterity. But it’s close to the chopping block!

While I have consumed inexpensive wines throughout my wine journey the quantity of more expensive wines I purchase has dropped all but fully. Inexpensive/expensive is in the eye of the beholder. Say from the late 90’s to about 2012 or so to me inexpensive was $20 or less. Moderate $20 to $35 (e.g., Geyserville). Expensive over that.

Hard to pinpoint but let’s say that in the past 6-8 years inexpensive has moved up to $30 or below. Moderate $30 to $50. Expensive over that. I have never been able to regularly afford many $50+ wines. I think generally speaking my tasting notes support this (allowing for the kindness of strangers and older wines which were inexpensive back in the mists of time).

Very anecdotally speaking, for me “inexpensive” is the category that feels it has shifted the most. A lot of what I used to buy is now in the moderate range, and the top of the range at that.

Of course, I can find plenty of stuff under $25 to drink. Less exciting or familiar, but potable nonetheless. Have to hustle more. Living in New Jersey helps, the home of “race to the bottom” wine retailing. I have dropped 99% of domestic mailing lists generally due to shipping costs plus price increases in the product. Sad but saved me a LOT of money. I passed entirely on Berserkers Day this year.

To answer the initial question, based again on anecdote, looking at increases in utility bills, medical coverage, insurance, home maintenance costs, groceries, car repair, and so on inflation has played a role. It has outstripped household income increases. And this looks to be continuing. Do I have stats to back it up? Moderately. But not going there.