The Recession and Wine

Let’s all be honest, we’re still drinking great wine during a recession. Yes I’ll admit wine is most definitely a luxury, but it seems from research that it’s an “affordable luxury”. I don’t really need it “survive” per-say. But I do need it to survive in another sense of the term. It’s an important and enjoyable part of my lifestyle…

2008 research from Nielsen indicates that the declining economy has only a “mild impact” on consumers buying wine, beer and liquor at grocery and liquor stores, convenience stores, warehouse clubs and other stores.

Nearly half of consumers surveyed said the economy has had no influence in the amount they are spending for beer, wine or spirits in stores. Less than 20% indicate a significant impact. In fact, more than 80% of consumers say they are spending the same amount or more on alcohol compared to a year ago. When it comes to wine, 49% said the economy has had “no effect” on the amount they spend, while 37% said “just a little” and 13% said “significantly.” according to Nielsen.

“Although consumers have less money to spend due to economic pressures…Alcoholic beverages are withstanding the economic slowdown very well, compared to other categories that might be considered indulgent or non-necessities. To many consumers, alcoholic beverages are an affordable luxury,” said Danny Brager, VP, Client Service, Beverage Alcohol, Nielsen.

But there IS a noticeable change…

People are more likely during a recession to share bottles of wine at home. “Purchases at out-of-home or on-premise locations may be more susceptible to a negative economy as consumers eat out less and entertain at home more often,” said Brager. For me it’s true, I know well that a bottle of wine is significantly more expensive at a restaurant. The incentive to go out in an economy in crisis declines.

One strategy to combat this: bring your own wine (BYOW) from home to restaurants that allow it. Helpful websites are popping up in Canada such as But even still, corkage fees exist in the range of $10-25 per bottle making the most economical choice to enjoy bottles at home.

My strategy: Reacquaint yourself with trying new recipes and wine pairings. Invite friends over for dinner parties, cook for your partner, cook for yourself, and most important – find value for your money. Spend on bottles that are great wines for the price.

All in all, I’m still drinking my wine. I’m also waiting for my bailout package: our first Hemispheres offering in April 😉 What are your thoughts on the Recession and Wine?