There is quite a lively debate going on Dr. Vino’s Wine Blog about why there is so little quality inexpensive American wine (under $12). Jump into the debate here: Tasty American wine under $12: why so little of it? Industry replies, part I
My entry into the fray posted there and repeated here for my readers:
Perhaps, just perhaps, the answer is a little more basic and unseemly – greed, the same thing that precipitated our current financial crisis. A large number of American wineries are now owned by public corporations whose modus operandi is to maximize profit – something you cannot do if you charge too little for your wine. Unfortunately, I think that maximizing profit is ingrained in American business culture, even if the winery is not publicly held. Now before all of you object, yes, I know there are examples of American wineries who put quality and accessibility above pure profit, and they are to be applauded. Unfortunately, they appear to be few and far between.
If the United States is to have a sustainable wine culture, it is very important for there to be a viable market of low-cost, quality wine. Most people simply cannot drink wine on a frequent basis if they are paying $15 to $20 a bottle all the time. So if American wineries want to cede this market to foreign competition, we will continue to drink the quality low cost wine of other countries (anyone notice how good ignoring low-cost, quality foreign competition was for the American automobile industry?…).