Wine Shortage Is Pushing Prices Up

Wallets are getting squeezed more than grapes, says the Los Angeles Times.

Worldwide wine production was down 6.1 percent last year, the worst since 1975. And in the U.S., where more wine is consumed than anywhere else, sales hit a record high last year.

That’s driving up prices. Restaurant Sciences, a company that monitors food and beverage sales at restaurants, found per-glass wine prices increasing more sharply in some dining sectors than others, according to the Times:

  • An 8.4 percent jump in the price of wine at family dining restaurants, where the average meal is less than $40.
  • A 5.4 percent increase at high-end restaurants.
  • An increase of less than 2 percent at casual and upscale casual restaurants, in the $40 to $120 per-meal range.

The study included more than 5,000 restaurants, and said wine sales at eateries account for $289 million a year. (It doesn’t include wine sold at nightclubs, hotel restaurants, fast-food chains, or concession stands.)

Another industry research group, IBISWorld, pointed out other factors behind rising prices. Vineyards are still dealing with the recession’s effects, and there aren’t enough experienced workers to go around. There aren’t many programs to train them, either.

This year there could be a worldwide shortage of 1.3 billion bottles, the Times said. If you still want to drink, consider doing it at home with our story, “8 Tips to Find Good Wine for Less Than $10.”

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