Happy New Year to each of you. As we enter 2019, a year that begins with tremendous economic uncertainty, we return to the theme of being mindful about the decisions we make as consumers. We have consistently written about the importance of shopping locally. We’ve shared that there are associated ripple effects with more of each dollar spent staying in the community. It’s a relationship-based economy that can create an economic ecosystem with a unique, community identity.
From a consumer perspective, the principal reason for choosing small, locally-owned shops is their “unique product selection” (Wirthman). Chain stores buy big and stock their shelves with the same items. We see this sameness on the wine shelves at the large grocery stores and liquor outlets. Though we have not counted, but we’d be surprised if five different grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc) didn’t account for two-thirds of the wines on their shelves. How many choices of California Cabernet or Chardonnay do we need?
When new people wander into our shop, we often hear the comment that they don’t recognize most of the brands we carry. Sometimes that is said in a complimentary way, but nearly as often, it is intended critically. We know that we cannot compete with the grocery stores and liquor outlets. We’ve been intentional in defining our niche. As a shop which is part of the market, the most important contributor to our identity is the input of our customers.
Our shelves are stocked the way they are because our regular customers come to us for something different, something new to them. You are wine curious, exploring new countries, new regions, new grapes. That these preferences also tend to support small, family-owned wineries focusing on varieties indigenous to their locale makes it that much more compelling to you.
Thank you for your curiosity, for your support, for your friendship. Let’s see where 2019 takes us, shall we?