Saturday, November 29, 2008

Report: Local producers benefit from tough times

As I like to do, amid the local postings, are blog snippets from elsewhere. The New York Wine & Grape Foundation weekly sends out an e-letter that generally focuses on that state's wineries, but also includes news you can use outside the state. Found these two items worth sharing. Otherwise, enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

NEW YORK WINE & TABLE, the 13-segment PBS series co-produced by WXXI public television and the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, is getting lots of airtime throughout New York State and the country. Originally titled “Taste of New York”, the series focuses on New York wines, foods, agriculture and tourism in every region of New York State. Each segment begins and ends at the New York Wine & Culinary Center with host Susan Hunt and former executive chef Dan Martello introducing the region at the beginning, then creating a recipe using its foods and wines at the end. In between, Susan visits wineries, farms, and local attractions to showcase the unique regional flavor. The show literally spans the state from eastern Long Island to Lake Erie, and the Hudson Valley to North Country, with a special segment focused on New York City. We always figured our New York PBS stations would pick it up, but the number of markets in various states throughout the country is phenomenal: Alaska, California (LA, SF, and other cities), Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas. The word is getting out: New York wines are in.

LOCAPOUR trend seems to be accelerating despite the country’s economic woes and dismal outlook, according to a recent report from The Nielsen Company which tracks alcohol beverage sales nationally. There are several reasons for optimism: Despite the troubling economy, U.S. consumers are generally reluctant to cut back on beer, spirits, and especially wine, making it somewhat recession-resistant compared with other products. American wines have become more price-competitive because of recent changes in currency exchange rates, forcing importers to raise their prices. In tough economic times, Americans are psychologically more inclined to support local and U.S. products, and domestic wines are now growing more rapidly than imports. Wines from outside of California have also been gaining market share, reflecting the locapour trend. Unless the economy really tanks in the next few weeks, it is likely that consumers will consider wine an affordable indulgence for the holidays. We won’t truly know how consumers behaved this year until after it’s over, but fortunately will get a good look at that on January 12 when the Wine Market Council and Nielsen give their annual presentation at the New York Public Library. This is a must-attend conference for anyone wanting to know what’s happening, and likely to, in the wine market. For more information and to register, visit