Thanks to the Vinopolis wine store in Portland, for including a very thoughtful essay-ette at the top of this week's offerings on their website.
Vinopolis notes that they are are finding good bargains-for-high-quality more on the European side than among U.S. wines now. They speculate this is because on the Continent the wineries manage their price only to their cellar doors, and after that, let market forces come what may. In contrast, in America, wineries try to regulate retail prices for their products all the way to the consumer. I suppose this is an outgrowth of the U.S.' addiction to marketing and the theory of consumer control.
Having said that, however, as my customers know, I've been offering many super-high-value quality wines lately, all from U.S. wineries. I think this is a temporary condition, brought about by the vast oversupply of wineries and wines in CA, OR, and WA, and the plummeting demand for $20+ wines in our shaky economy. Too, the skyrocketing debt of the United States has sparked its once-proud currency's fall against even such former deadbeats as Phillipines, Mexico, and Argentina. This gives U.S. wines a price advantage against foreign competition.
Given this, perhaps the only force making some U.S. wines too expensive is the greed of the winery owners. But as stocks build up and refuse to fall, that greed will give way to cold hard reality. Unless China is buying the premium wines, their prices must fall.
What should a drinker-with-a-cellar do? Buy some good longer-lasting wines and lay them down. Search out those good wines in the "$12 and less" category and hike your present consumption of those. And keep reading the news . . .