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February 19, 2011

I want my € 1.39-per-liter wine! Now! Gulp.

The DWI (German Wine Institute) has just announced the 2010 sales numbers of the German wine market. The total sales of wines (both, German and international wines) have gone down by 2,7%, while the quantities have remained more or less stable. This is connected to the increasing sales of wines at the discounters, where extreme price politics are usual business. Having read that, I need to formulate a few thoughts around this.

Last week, we spent a few days at Feldberg in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) region. We went to Lidl to get a few breakfast items... No, wine isn't really on our breakfast table - but can I pass a wine shelf without checking the bottles? No. Only, this time, what caught my attention was the signs, not so much the bottles themselves. Lot's of 1 € somethings... Reds and whites and rosés.


Jesus Christ. Where are we heading with our cheap-cheaper-cheapest mentality.........? W. T. H? Rotten meat, Dioxin in food chain, and several other scandals have shaken the country in the recent past. One important factor behind all this is undoubtedly the pressure to keep prices down, down, down. We - as in consumers - seem to not care, as long as we can get our food at low costs. Instead of cutting down on meats, going back to not having meat dishes every day of the week and therefore rather a good piece of it, we want it all and now and all the time. And the same goes for wine?! Hello? Can't afford a bottle of wine for 7, 8 € - well drink less of it then. Which is better anyway, right?

What is the low price per liter leading to? Are we going to drink a lot more for the same money? Or are we going to drink less, and thus actually saving money? That remains to be seen.

What is our goal? 0,30 € / liter - are we happier then?

Now! I am not at all a friend or a believer in Sweden's alcohol politics. But, at least there are people spending thoughts on alcohol and young people. I am not saying that they are doing the right thing with their constant taboos and brain washing with partly simply plain lies and misleading facts. But, there certainly is a certain awareness, that we seem to be lacking in our liberal (God, how thankful I am for that we are liberal!) society:

Considering all the problems we do have with young people (13, 14 year olds) becoming alcoholics, I can't see this new trend being of any help. Yes, we know, it was the alcopops (and their marketing) that started that problem for our society, the flat rate drinking at the discos, parents not having any time for their children anymore, schools ending too soon, leaving kids alone and without supervision at early age. So, yes, we need to work on this issue from several different starting points. We need to be using our common sense thing and we need to sharpen up. And yeah, and perhaps there are no statistics showing an increased risk for even more alcohol dependent children, just because Lidl and co are giving away the wines. WTH, it just feels wrong. Especially since there is no positive effect with this price dumping. (Or is there?)

And how does it help the local producers? With higher production costs in our country, compared to many other countries - how long and how far will they be able to keep up with this? And should they? And what happens now, with 2010 being this enormously lower quantities... Will they be thrown out of the discounter shelves?

Well, for now, it seems to still be working. As the DWI reports, 46% of the volumes and 52% of the sales of wine in Germany, are German wines after all. German wines are market leaders in Germany. That's nice.

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