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Wine price inflation

The price of wine has been rising, some rocketing.

When I started I could find classed growth clarets in Augustus Barnet* for 2-3 times the cost of a basic claret. Now first growth are 100s of times more expensive.

I too thought the prices couldn’t keep rising, they they must stabilise or crash but that hasn’t happened and I don’t think they ever will. Wine drinking has become the standard and even non-drinkers see top wines as investments.

Populations across the Americas and Asia who didn’t previously are now consuming wine and although wine production has increased immensely there is a finite amount of the good – or famous – stuff and those prepared to pay will get it.

At the bottom, the UK wine tax which is a flat rate tax not related to cost has greatly increased the tax percentage of a bottle.

I am buying today wines that then were either not available (e.g. NZ and OZ) or I would not have even considered (e.g. Languedoc, Bourg, Blaye).

If you think you’ll be drinking the same wines in 40 years time – you won’t!

*a chain like Majestic


Anybody who has not noticed price rises generally has not been out lately, this year we are going to be hit hard with energy costs tax hikes and council tax before we even get into goods from cars to food and everything else, that this is a world wide problem doesn’t ease the pain for many.
A first world problem is the price of a bottle of wine, several recent reports show ine for the same reasons plus shortages will rise this year.

Being the DM does not make this go away, Decanter did a piece on it in December, naturally ‘could’ rise by 20% is the classic get out of jail card if no rises happen, but will they.

I took the wife shopping this morning as she can no longer drive and perusing the wine shelves there were several wines that have jumped in price since Christmas, as with much else the CPI of 5.4% inflation is selective the 7.5% that is from the older method of RPI of valuating inflation is no longer the headline but probably should be.
We are no longer seeing 10p going on items but 50p a £1 on items of £5 and above was seen this morning and this is only the start of the year, does the WS have a view on this as they are not immune to that which affects all trades and goods, anybody who has had to buy items like timber in the last year have already had a rude shock.

GAS price increase approx +75% (and elec where gas derived). Glass bottles hugely energy hungry, Russia/ Ukraine situation unlikely to be resolved quickly no matter what Johnson says.

BREXIT / import tax, price increase +??% (sorry lost track of actual figures)

INFLATION approx +5%

LABOUR cost increase +??% (no idea, but lack of overseas workers wont help)

So yes, our favourite tipple is going up in price. Your pension / wages / investments however are unlikely to match that price increase. In fact my investment (money purchase) pension pot has FALLEN in value.

The interesting thing is the price increase in pence will be (nominally) the same for both a cheap and expensive bottle. So cheap wine gets pricier, and expensive stuff, less so ? Any economists out there care to comment?

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Thus it ever was……income (however it’s derived) has never increased at the same rate as outgoings. One comfort, apart from the pleasure of drinking it, is that wine bought now for drinking in a number of years time will have increased in price as well, so bought today is a relative “bargain” :grinning:

They might do. Labour bargaining power is increasing…as you note yourself. Some pensions are RPI/CPI linked though that may be less than wine price increases. Most investment portfolios will have fallen a bit in the last 3 months. The income from them probably won’t though.

Not sure it will be the same nominal increase…yes it will for many of these costs, but not all. It is more likely to make the price of basic wine relatively more expensive though.

This thread is almost identical to one I started a couple of weeks ago called Wine Price Inflation…might be an idea to merge them? @inbar, @szaki1974 or any other mods?

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Makes sense! Just merged :slight_smile:

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I see BBR are now offering the new release of Vega Sicilia Unico. Only £50 a glass, duty paid. “Inflation” sucks. They also have Valbuena from a more recent vintage for “only” £120 / bottle DP. Interestingly, they list both wines together, with reviews giving them pretty much identical scores. Interesting marketing tactic?

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Some thoughts which I haven’t tied together into a coherent narrative.

The high price of oil is going to push up fertiliser costs too. It pushes up the cost of everything.

On the other hand, GBP is looking pretty healthy against the Euro. Less so against the dollar.

Wage inflation is something I don’t have a problem with. If hauliers can’t find anyone who wants to do a stressful job and sleep away from home in a layby for £10 ph, and are having to put up wages, then good. I voted remain, but I never saw suppression of wages at the bottom end of the market as a feature I saw it as a fault. Anyway it will be wage pressure where the wine is made rather than here that will have the most impact.

Inflation at the top end is more likely to be sellers charging what the market can bear, rather than a cost price pushing thing. If costs pressures ceased tomorrow, prices wouldn’t fall if the producers could still punt it to the Chinese for more than we want to pay.

In a wider time frame I think that the lack of inflation in off trade wine prices has been astonishing. Like @Ian_cranston has noted wine at the bottom end has hardly risen at all. You could buy cheap bottle of wine in the mid 80s for about £2.50 and it was rubbish. Wine making techniques have moved on. The quality difference between cheap and expensive wine is a lot narrower than it was. (Fight me!) 37 years later, you can buy a better bottle of wine for under £4 (if you live in Englandshire anyway).


To buy a bottle of wine for under £4 in Scotland it would need to have an alcohol content suitable for John Swinney, i.e. about 3%! Ever since Sturgeon adopted minimum alcohol pricing…I don’t buy wine that’s affected by it as a rule, but it’s quite an eye opener that wine which costs £3.99 in Lidl in England is over a fiver here.

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Scotlandshire - please !


The one thing that (for me) about inflation is that it makes one reassess just what is a luxury and what is a basic. Having worked in the retail food business for over thirty years one notices how buying patterns change dramatically in times of ‘pinch’ and how they change back in perceived times of ‘plenty’.

The basics are a roof over your head. The ability to keep warm in winter and to be able buy enough nutritious food to stave of hunger for yourself and family.

Everything else is a luxury, so I’m sorry we’ll just have to learn to cut our cloth accordingly. Buy less expensive wine (make the cellar work a bit harder for once). Eat indoors instead of cafe’s and restaurants etc

I suspect for many of the TWS members who complain bitterly about inflation (and just about everything else political) they are some of the least affected by it all anyway.

So look in the mirror (or the reflection in your wine glass) and ask yourselves…really???


Wasn’t this whole mess we’re in created by a bit of unnecessary complaining about politics when people already had everything they needed and more? :man_shrugging:

Of course, you’re right…inflation has nothing to do with the virus at all


It’s a nice try at deflection, but you brought politics into it. Politics are a choice. We all don’t need to put our hairshirts on now because those choices made have turned out to be stinkers.

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As I said “of course you’re right”, said the…

I’d be interested to know how making everything more expensive for everyone fits into this narrative, because it doesn’t seem to make much sense right now.

Sorry, can’t help you. I only came into this to mention how the impacts of boom and bust markets make sensible people re-prioritise the spending/thinking etc.
I have a clue it might be to do with economics but can’t be sure, something like prices go up/demand slows down or falls. Prices then come down and guess what? sales go up.
I know that’s how it works at AnaGram Towers. I’m currently milking the cellar and eating toast (it is sourdough though) :wink: Wink supplied to ease tension.


Recieved a circular email from the society on delivery charges (a very positive development it seems) but noticed that it included the following:

"Our non-profit-maximising business model, coupled with your fantastic support, means that overall, our bottle prices have been going down, not up, over the past year. However, we expect cost price pressure to continue, so it’s only fair to let you know to expect to see some prices going up in the summer.

The most notable example is the 2021 Burgundy vintage, where volumes were down by 50%, which has resulted in significant cost increases. Unfortunately, this means our much-loved Society’s White Burgundy will increase in price from £9.95 to £12.95 in May. We will be offering members some delicious alternatives – new Chardonnays sourced from other French regions, including the Rhône and Languedoc, as well as a French blend created by our expert buying team.

We will always do what we can to keep prices down, and rest assured when conditions change, prices will be reduced."

That’s a pretty hefty 30% increase. Hopefully only temporary but I imagine that the 2020 that’s still available at the old price may not be around for long!


Yes, I saw that too.

In all honesty, I was surprised that they’d kept it below a tenner for so long, but 30% is a lot. There was a significantly reduced crop in 2021 as noted. I would hope that it would come down a bit again the following year.

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Makes one or two of the 2020 EP wines look quite attractive.

I don’t follow them closely but I don’t remember Burgundy prices ever going down

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