If You Read Anything This Week: Wine News 2/7/2020

Auction boom: Worldwide wine auction totals rose 9% in 2019, reaching $511 million. The most significant growth came in the market for rare spirits; the top-selling lot was whiskey, setting a record for any wine and spirit. Zachys had the highest overall sales at $121.5 million, up 51% over 2018. But while sales boom, the threatened tariffs are a major concern for American auction houses—in both the short and long term. [Wine Spectator]

DTC & marketing: Direct-to-consumer sales represented 10% of all domestic off-premise wine retail in the US in 2018—53% growth in the category since 2015. Yet for DTC sales to continue this trajectory of growth, wineries will need to shift their marketing tactics, relying less on tasting rooms and more on technology. [Forbes]

Australian wine in China: Australia’s largest wine export market by value is China, with $1.3 billion exported last year, down 18% from 2018. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, there are fears that China will order less wine. Australia’s total value of exports in 2019 was the second highest recorded, though volume fell for the first time in seven years. [NYT]

Tariff update: Following Trump and Marcon’s agreement over the digital tax dispute, many believed all tariffs were tabled, yet the larger 100% threat related to the Airbus dispute remains. By February 17, the USTR may announce a decision, with two categories under consideration: Annex 1 wines are those hit with the 25% tariff, while Annex II includes all other European wines. At this point, anything could happen, including a decision on a different date. [SevenFifty Daily]

Compounds in wine aromas: New research identifies 17 key compounds in the aroma of red wine, using for the study a red variety from northeast Romania that was aged with oak chips or staves. Over 80 volatile compounds were analyzed using gas mass chromatography, and 17 of these made up 95% of the total detected aroma. [Phys.org]

Wine TV: In an era with TV shows about a shocking range of topics, and with popular interest in food and wine on the rise, where’s the great American wine show? Past examples are slim—and all British: Vintage: A History of Wine (Hugh Johnson, 1989), Wine Course (Jancis Robinson, beginning 1995), Oz and James’s Big Wine Adventure (2006–2007), and The Wine Show, currently on Hulu in the US and Amazon Prime in the UK. [PUNCH]

What do you think?

If you work in auctions, what else have you observed in the past year? What are you hearing about tariff concerns?

How do you think wineries should be reaching new and current customers?

What else are you hearing about the impact of the existing tariffs and preparations for what might come next?

Why do you think there isn't a great wine TV show being made in the US—and why such shows are slim overall? Would you watch one?  What would it take to capture your interest?

What else have you been reading this week?

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