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Prices - a sign of the times?

Here’s a curious thing. Late last year, Rhone critic JLL gave Maby’s 2018 Lirac La Fermade a very positive 4* review, adding that at £11.50 it was “a giveaway”.

I bought a bottle, and had planned to buy more, using it to make up mixed cases over the coming year. There was lots available.

Well, perhaps I should have bought more back then because - unless I’m mistaken - today the price is £13.50 a bottle.

It’s gone up 17% in two months.

On its own, it doesn’t matter, perhaps. It’s two quid, and I wasn’t going to buy that much anyway. But I wonder if it’s an indicator of increased costs following Brexit - in which case it is a pretty sharp price rice in such a short space of time.

The Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur Lie Comte Leloup Centenaires Ch de Chasseloir 2016 has gone up from £9.95 to £10.50 in the same time period - so up 6%.

I imagine that the muscadet increase may reflect it having been listed a long time; the Many was fairly recently listed, though.

Perhaps I assumed that a wine was listed at a certain price until it sold out, but seems they can actually go up in price during the year.

There’s no tone of voice on a forum. I’m not speaking as Yours Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, and I don’t want (and can’t bear) another Brexit debate, but I did find this interesting, and just thought others might. At the lower end, I think prices are certainly rising.

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So I wasn’t the only one caught: a Sardinian Vermentino from 8.95 to 9.50 between Aug and Jan. Same wine. Certainly worth either price, but it would be interesting to know why.

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I bought Ch Courac 2016 in mid-Nov, too. I see that went up from the £8.95 I paid to £9.50 (before selling out) - so 6% rise.

I guess what happens is that prices are raised each year to reflect inflation - especially for slow-selling wines that will be around for a long time. Though it’s a puzzle re the Courac - there presumably wasn’t much of the 2016 left.

I do emphasise, I just thought this interesting. I’d thought about buying some cheaper wines about now, and a slight shame I missed out. But it’s a few quid on wines that are great value anyway. No big deal.

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Incidentally, other things didn’t go up… e.g. Chignin Anne de Biguerne, Domaine Jean-François Quénard 2019

The Thymiopoulos Jeunes Vignes has been raised the same increment on the 2019 - from £10.95 to £11.50, but ISTR that initial price has been held for 3 or 4 vintages, so something had to give.

On wider reflection though, the wines released last Feb/Mar/Apr EP for 2016 Piedmont many seem to have gone through huge price-hikes for same vintage in the last 12 months, and if you compare the 2016 and 2017 Castello di Verduno Barbaresco on TWS the price has gone up £4. Something is definitely happening.

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I don’t think it’s unreasonable for prices to rise a bit over time, especially if/when operating costs have significantly increased, perhaps due to the dreaded B word or COVID related factors. It also seems unrealistic that prices should rise by less than 50p a time otherwise pricing might get a bit chaotic. The Maby going up £2 a bottle does seem a bit steep, but it is terrific and was to me perhaps a bit too keenly priced!

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Roumier en primeur and then on the grey secondary market. That is when you know what price rises are all about.
Joking apart prices go up for several reasons. Did you but from same merchant?
Same wines on wine searcher can vary considerably.

Another example is Fontodi Chianti Classico 2017. Before xmas it was £20 on the WS website. The exact same wine is now £22 on the WS website. I am sure the WS are simply reflecting an increase in their costs somewhere but I would be fascinated to know which costs have risen.

It seems unlikely that any wine on the list in Jan has come in post-Brexit, and it isn’t clear how Covid should raise prices by the 6 to 10% amounts found here. If the rise had coincided with the new list, that might reflect new year costs (although 10% seems considerably above any measure of inflation), but the rises came before the list was issued. I had assumed that prices would remain the same for the same wine, same year, until a new list or new vintage appeared.

Isn’t the easiest answer to ask the person or entity who has increased the price why the price has risen rather than speculative thoughts drifting to and fro?

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All business have the right to review their costs and margins but most of the increases here are really high (over 10%) which has put me off ordering wine from TWS.

I did a quick check of prices of a number of wines I bought at various points last year against current.

The Lirac Maby rouge is the biggest mover as already noted (different vintage). White is only up 45p though…

Of the others, the prices are either the same or a relatively modest move to the next price point maybe, so 50p or so (c 5%). One is actually cheaper, TWS Alsace. Looked at 12 in total. 4 are the same, 6 are up c5% or so, the Lirac is up 17% and one is down 5%.

Some will be the same vintage, some are the next one. Currency won’t be doing that as the rate has been in a fairly stable range if anything £ up slightly. Doubt if growers will have been getting much more…might be the odd one where the quantity is down a lot and quality up? Bit early to say it’s Brexit implementation costs, and the man himself says these have been absorbed so far…

As @Andrew1990 says, best not speculate… but ask!

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Just to clarify, the wines being discussed here are all WS purchases.

I am sure if you ask Steve Finlan for an explanation he will give you one. After all, he answered your other post very promptly and comprehensively.

No, he didn’t. Prompt, yes, but no answer on the risks to present and potential small suppliers.

That is understandable as no one knows how that will pan out.

Probably not yet known, and even if so, maybe not wishing to go public on it yet. It’s a fair question, but maybe too early to answer, and in any event probably best not to shoot the messenger…try Gove instead.

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I hope it won’t be left to ‘pan out’. It will be necessary to give more help and encouragement to new exporters than might have been needed in the past.

‘Not wishing to go public’ is the answer too many businesses have been giving since 2016, and the result is that their views and knowledge were not taken into account. It must be obvious by now that silence is taken to be consent.

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Then I am sure Steve will take careful note of your helpful generalisation.