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BitBuster
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since Dec 2017
841 posts

Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
Why is the same bottle of wine priced so differently everywhere?

Why does a store think I'll happily pay $10/more per bottle at certain times of the year? I'll just pick the bottle next to it that's cheaper.

I'll use Rouses as an example because I shop there often. I'll focus on Pinot Noir's because that's what we buy the most of.

Penner-Ash Pinot Noir debuted at my local Rouses a couple of years ago. It was priced at $40.99/bottle.
The only reason I'm tracking the price of this wine is because I went to the winery and paid the exact same price for the exact same bottle. In October of 2019, they jacked up the price to $50.99/bottle. A $10 increase just in time for the holidays.
This week, I went back into the store, and it's on sale for 39.99, a full $10 off! Great savings!

Look, I know retailers do this shite all the time. Old Navy has shirts 40% off, Tuesday, and 100% off on Wednesday. Price fluctuations are very common in all retail sectors.

But why is wine special? Whiskey doesn't fluctuate nearly as much. Beer? A case of miller lite is $20.99 at Costco, Rouses, and any gas station.

It's not just mid-range wine that's prone to pricing games, cheap wine is too. A bottle of Frey Merlot at Costco is $4.99, Rouses is $7.99. I tell you what, I'd rather make $3 more per bottle on cheap wine than $10/bottle on expensive wine.

I'm not even going to address high-end wine. It's not about the juice in the bottle, it's about the label. Those are ludicrously overpriced and the type of person would spend $120 on a bottle wouldn't bat an eyelash at paying $20 more.

I've come to the conclusion that retailers love to play games with wine prices. It seems to be just wine that falls into this category. What makes wine special? Why are consumers comfortable with the pricing games? Why can't sub-$20 wine have uniform pricing like Miller Lite?


rowbear1922
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2008
12974 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
The prices very from the wine reps so prices in stores fluctuate.

A wine might have been on the shelf too long so need to move it.

Maybe some competition to sell the most to win some prize

Maybe the wine won some award so the demand is now high/price increased

For the cheaper wine, Costco is the largest wine buyer in the country so they get MUCH better deals than a regional grocery store like Rouses.

ETA: Miller lite is made to taste the exact same no matter when or where you have it. Wine all depends on the growing season and wine making techniques so the taste varies from vintage to vintage (besides cheaper blends that are made to taste the same across vintages). If it's a better vintage, it costs more.
This post was edited on 2/14 at 7:34 am


Epic Cajun
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Lafayette, LA
Member since Feb 2013
20375 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
Are you looking at the same vintages too?


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BitBuster
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since Dec 2017
841 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
I know what you're getting at Row, I don't think I explained myself very well in the first post.

I understand the basic retail economics at play. You want to price things to move off the shelf at the price where you can make the greatest profit.

I understand that not all juice is created equal. There are tiers of quality in the wine business just like in beer, whiskey, etc.

I just feel like within a tier, take the $9-18 Pinot, there is a variation in price that doesn't deserve to be there. I find that quality between the wines in that tier vary significantly. Also in that tier, price doesn't reflect the quality of the grape.

As a consumer, we're trained to think that price = quality. That's simply not true when it comes to certain wines. I'm saying that retailers game the prices to move the wines and the wine industry depends on the pricing vaugeness to hide any quality issues.

The whole industry is a sham! a sham! haha


CoachChappy
LSU Fan
Boudin Capitol of the World
Member since May 2013
24552 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
I've noticed that Rouse's wine is typically more expensive than other stores. They have a decent selection, but the price is higher than even my liquor/wine stores.


TH03
Iowa State Fan
Dallas
Member since Dec 2008
162411 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

Why does a store think I'll happily pay $10/more per bottle at certain times of the year? I'll just pick the bottle next to it that's cheaper.


The vast majority of the time, the store prices their wine according to what it cost so any price increase is due to the winery dictating it. This could be for a variety of reasons from just wanting their wine to be at a certain price point to vintage/harvest yields forcing it in order to turn a profit.

quote:

But why is wine special? Whiskey doesn't fluctuate nearly as much. Beer? A case of miller lite is $20.99 at Costco, Rouses, and any gas station.


For the most part, whiskey and beer are easier to produce consistently year over year. Wine like barefoot, Sutter home, yellowtail, etc doesn't fluctuate in price very often and would be a better comparison to Miller lite. Higher quality wine, just like better craft beer and high end whiskey will fluctuate in price based on production cost, yields, etc.

quote:

A bottle of Frey Merlot at Costco is $4.99, Rouses is $7.99.


Costco has a lot of stuff cheaper than other stores. It's because they buy more product than other stores and thus have more buying power and better discounts. The winery/distributor will sell them a pallet of wine at a cheaper unit cost than they sell 3 cases to another chain. Same thing goes with Frito lay or coca cola.

quote:

I'm not even going to address high-end wine. It's not about the juice in the bottle, it's about the label. Those are ludicrously overpriced and the type of person would spend $120 on a bottle wouldn't bat an eyelash at paying $20 more.


El oh El

quote:

Why can't sub-$20 wine have uniform pricing like Miller Lite?


Miller lite doesn't have uniform pricing for one. Wal Mart sells it for a different price than 7/11 or Albertsons. Stores that are selling those wines at a higher price than other stores probably sell most everything in the store at a higher price than other stores. It isn't exclusive to one area of the store.

quote:


As a consumer, we're trained to think that price = quality. That's simply not true when it comes to certain wines.


For the most part, it's absolutely true in the wine industry. Price is almost always directly correlated with quality of vineyard/grapes and methods of production which result in a higher quality wine.
This post was edited on 2/14 at 9:30 am


Centinel
Alabama Fan
South Carolina
Member since Sep 2016
23438 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

For the most part, it's absolutely true in the wine industry. Price is almost always directly correlated with quality of vineyard/grapes and methods of production which result in a higher quality wine.


Whatever. I've yet to try a wine that's any better than Manischewitz. It's all just fermented grapes anyway.





rowbear1922
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2008
12974 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

The whole industry is a sham! a sham! haha


It's really not. When I worked in the service industry, we based our price off what it cost us to buy it. For instance, we used to sell Bond (higher end wine) for ~$800 a bottle, costs us in the $350 range. When the winery increased the price for us to buy the wine, because of demand, to near $800 a bottle, our price increased to reflect the price it costs us.

Our wine reps used to discount certain wines at different times of the year, usually because they had a competition, so we sold it at a different price point on our menu. I printed the wine list if not weekly, for sure bi-weekly. This is for 2 reasons: A.) so we didn't sell something we were out and B.) to reflect any changes to the price.


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rowbear1922
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2008
12974 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

Whatever. I've yet to try a wine that's any better than Manischewitz. It's all just fermented grapes anyway.


There are drastic differences between a $20 bottle and a $50 bottle or a $100 bottle and a $200 bottle.


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Dave Worth
LSU Fan
Metairie
Member since Dec 2003
1573 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
In Louisiana, by law the cheapest you can charge is 6% more than you paid (I know some ignore this).

The price paid can be caused by a bunch of things. Tariffs could increase the price. Shortages/Demand can have an impact.

Deals are a big factor. A Supplier may offer a deal to move more product which would be a price decrease. That deal may be at Case 1 (meaning the discount is applied at a minimum of 1 case or bottle). Or it could come in tiers. Buy 5 cases get x% off; Buy 25 get x%; ect. This can lead to big fluctuations in a store from month to month.

A distributor may have a huge overstock on an item and sell it off to a good customer for a fraction of normal price. All that customer has to charge is 6% over the price paid. So they may get a $10 bottle for $2. It's their option to drop it to $2 plus 6%, keep it at their normal price or anything in between dictated by demand.

Then there's actual results. Maybe a 20% markup works on a brand for awhile. Then it doesn't and you drop the price. Or maybe you're selling through quickly and have wiggle room in the price to raise it.

Wine is also a lot more seasonal than spirits and beer. The Holidays (Oct through November)account for a huge piece of the wine business, especially on the higher cost wines. I don't deal with that side as much so I don't know if they raise prices with the season knowing demand will be there. My guess would be the Holidays is the normal pricing and other times they are using supplier deals to lower price and drive demand.


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Pettifogger
Atlanta Braves Fan
Member since Feb 2012
57380 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

I'm not even going to address high-end wine. It's not about the juice in the bottle, it's about the label. Those are ludicrously overpriced and the type of person would spend $120 on a bottle wouldn't bat an eyelash at paying $20 more.



This is true for some. I mean, for guys buying Caymus at dinner because that's what'll impress a client who doesn't care about wine - sure.

But like any other hobby, most people I've been around who are very into wine are also very aware of what pricing *should* be. And most aren't like uber wealthy. Obviously they have enough money to buy better wine, but you have to consider that wine collecting may be THE hobby for some of these folks.


rowbear1922
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2008
12974 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

Deals are a big factor. A Supplier may offer a deal to move more product which would be a price decrease. That deal may be at Case 1 (meaning the discount is applied at a minimum of 1 case or bottle). Or it could come in tiers. Buy 5 cases get x% off; Buy 25 get x%; ect. This can lead to big fluctuations in a store from month to month.


The wine I used to always have at home for when random friends came over when I didn't want to open something better, I bought this way.

The wine was $18/bottle (Excelsus) from the wine rep but if I bought 3 cases or more at a time, it was $15/bottle. So by buying 4 cases at a time instead of 1 or 2, it was as if I got a free case every 2nd order.


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Panny Crickets
LSU Fan
Fort Worth, TX
Member since Sep 2008
4383 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

you have to consider that wine collecting may be THE hobby for some of these folks.


*raises hand*

Not my only hobby, but it's top 3.

As someone alluded to above, after you've been buying higher end/older vintage wines for a certain period of time, you begin to form an idea of what a particular wine and vintage *should* cost. Then it becomes a personal decision as to what that particular wine is worth to you.





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G Vice
LSU Fan
Lafayette, LA
Member since Dec 2006
11682 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
Albertsons does this horse shite as well.

About once a month, they mark up several of their wines by $4-6 and put a special tag on it advertising it as “on sale.” Therefore I don’t buy wine from them at that time.

I would like to see real stats on sales numbers when they do this. They probably fool enough people to make it worth continuing.


TH03
Iowa State Fan
Dallas
Member since Dec 2008
162411 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

Albertsons does this horse shite as well.

About once a month, they mark up several of their wines by $4-6 and put a special tag on it advertising it as “on sale.” Therefore I don’t buy wine from them at that time.


Albertsons/Tom thumb has their loyalty card pricing so their sales are misleading.

Their price tags will show regular retail and then card price, but no one in the history of ever has paid the regular retail because they either have the card, which is free, or the cashier scans one at the register.

So they'll take a wine that is priced most everywhere at about $15, give it a regular retail of $21.99 then show a card price of $15.99 making you think you're saving money. The issue is, when they have a 20% or 30% off 6 bottles sale, that 30% comes off the regular retail price that, like I said earlier, no one ever pays. So that $15 bottle comes out to $15.39 with "30% off."

That's the sham OP should complain about and it's why I never have and never will buy wine there.


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BitBuster
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since Dec 2017
841 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
Thanks Dave, that's informative.

To anyone; if I have two or three different wines that are my favorites, what would be the best way to get a deal on them? Do I just walk up to the liquor manager and ask if they have "by the case" specials? How much of a price break could I expect that way? $2 per bottle of wine or more on a bottle that is normally $15? (Obviously that would vary)


TH03
Iowa State Fan
Dallas
Member since Dec 2008
162411 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
quote:

To anyone; if I have two or three different wines that are my favorites, what would be the best way to get a deal on them? Do I just walk up to the liquor manager and ask if they have "by the case" specials? How much of a price break could I expect that way? $2 per bottle of wine or more on a bottle that is normally $15? (Obviously that would vary)


10% discount at most places. Just ask around.


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Pettifogger
Atlanta Braves Fan
Member since Feb 2012
57380 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
As TH03 said almost every place I know has 10% case discount. Big and small wine shops. Even Publix does something like that I think.

I know nothing about Louisiana shipping, but if you look around you can usually find pretty solid deals on Wine.com codes. 50 off 200, 100 off 300, stuff like that.


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SammyTiger
LSU Fan
New Orleans, LA
Member since Feb 2009
37393 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
Rouses is also banking on you buying wine there out of convenience.

They assume the price difference isn’t worth another trip to a different store.

That’s being said, Rouses has shitty wine prices with a few exceptions.

I fond Though different places run different deals on liqueur too within a 2-5 dollar range.

Also, I assume Wine gets more expensive as the year goes one because of scarcity of a vintage and the fact that it’s a year older and “better”

Idk. It’s pretty common. There is this bottle of Chinon I like At Martin’s that’s always a dollar more expensive towards the end of the year.

Langensteins has a good selection and very competitive prices. The wines they mark as specials are legit cheaper than ive seen anywhere else.
This post was edited on 2/14 at 10:43 am


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Tiger Ryno
Houston Astros Fan
#WoF
Member since Feb 2007
92685 posts

re: Wine - Has anyone figured out the pricing schemes?
Dear diary.


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