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story.lead_photo.caption Illustration by Kelly Brant

It's hard to believe I have been writing Uncorked for 15 years this month. Give or take a few, that's 750 columns. To put it into perspective, it's a lot of ideas and a lot of topics. You, the reader, have been instrumental in my journey with ideas, inspiration and positive feedback. You continue to spark my direction on column themes.

I hope — over the next year — we can continue our dialogue with questions and comments. As I have said on my past anniversary columns, don't be shy to reach out to me with your comments.

For this anniversary column, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the ways our market as changed in the past 15 years.

• Options for buying — We have seen a few changes in the way we buy wine in our market. Arkansas residents, when traveling, can now buy wine at a winery and have it shipped to their homes. Grocery stores are no longer limited in which wines they can offer, with selections continuing to grow. Many liquor stores are now offering the option to view their inventory and place an order online for in-store pickup. Some will have staff meet you in the parking lot with your purchase. And at least temporarily, as Arkansas works to contain the spread of covid-19, the state is allowing liquor stores to deliver their products in wet counties.

• Alternate packaging — Just as we were finally embracing quality boxed wine, the industry introduced more options. As recently as five years ago there were very few wines not packaged in glass bottles that I could recommend in our market. Today, the stigma surrounding wines in anything other than glass has finally shifted. We have more quality wines being packaged for convenience and sustainability, such as cans and Tetra Paks.

THE VALUE

2018 Underwood Pinot Grigio, Oregon (about $7 retail for a 375 mL can)

THE SPLURGE

2018 Bota Box Old Vine Zinfandel, California (about $22 retail for a 3L box)

• Rosé has gone high end — If you have been with me since the beginning of this column you may remember my mere mention of rosé 15 years ago elicited quite a bit of feedback from readers. There were many of you who would never consider a glass of pink because of the misconception that all rosés are created equal. And there were those of you who remembered the beautiful glass of rosé while dining in Provence and were desperate to find something similar locally. Today, thanks to more consumer demand we are seeing rosé wines flooding our market from winemakers around the world.

THE VALUE

2018 Domanie Bousquet Rosé, Argentina (about $12 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2028 Presqu'ile Winery Rosé, California (about $24 retail)

• Perception of value wines — My column has always been based around the concept of offering readers my recommendations of a value and splurge. Over the past year, I have had more of you giving me feedback that you once considered a value, about $10, has shifted much higher. I always ask you what has changed your shift in buying habits and most of you have said simply you are just buying higher end, better quality wines than before. I think a lot of the shift has been also from readers having more confidence in their buying decisions.

THE VALUE

2017 Sean Minor Nicole Marie Red Blend, California (about $19 retail)

THE SPLURGE

2017 Reynolds Family Winery Napa Cabernet, California (about $59 retail)

Lorri Hambuchen is a member of London's Institute of Wines and Spirits. Contact her at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, AR 72203, or email:

uncorked@thewinecenter.com

Food on 03/25/2020

Print Headline: Wine market shifts over 15 years of Uncorked

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