Monday, May 28, 2012

VQA stores are losing two super bargain wines

According to information gleaned from a wine store owner, Vincor has stopped shipping two cheap and popular wines to VQA stores.

The wines are Okanagan Vineyards OKV Select Red and OKV Select White. At $7.99 each, these were the lowest-priced VQA wines available in the VQA stores.

VQA store owners, who have sold these wines for several years, are very upset because these wines represented substantial volume for most stores. The wines brought in customers who, in the belief that VQA wines are too expensive, would have shopped somewhere else.

For many consumers, the $7.99 price point is the sweet spot. To see that, you just need to look at what the BC Liquor Distribution Branch offers in budget table wines. Both the selection and the quantities available are astonishing.

Some examples:

* The BCLDB currently has in its stores some 1,798 bottles of Franciscan California Red and 1,460 bottles of Franciscan California White, each selling at $7.29 a bottle.

* The BCLDB has two California wines from Gray Fox at $7.99 a bottle. Currently, the stores have 3,670 bottles of Chardonnay and 3,076 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon under this label.

* The stores list 2,106 bottles of Stellenbosch Blouberg, a white from South Africa, at $7.99 a bottle.

I could go on, but you get the point. There are plenty of consumers out there who will not, or cannot, spend much more than that for everyday drinking wine.

The VQA stores still are getting some OKV wines: VQA varietals at $8.99 a bottle. However, the general entry level price for most VQA wines is $12.95. For a lot of consumers, it is a big hurdle to fork over another $5 a bottle for wine.

It is not entirely clear why the VQA stores are no longer getting the $7.99 wine.

One owner saw a comment attributed to Vincor that the British Columbia Wine Institute, which owns the VQA store licenses, has decided that a $7.99 wine is not good for the VQA image.

Unless the wines are mediocre, I don’t see that. I have not tasted the wines but I did have family members who were repeat buyers. Since I taught my family a thing or two about wine, I don’t think they would have continued to drink OKV if the wines were less than acceptable.

Another owner was told the wines are not profitable for Vincor. That strikes me as an unlikely explanation. One of the company’s biggest non-VQA brands is Sawmill Creek. Most of those wines retail between $7.69 and $7.99. Sawmill Creek White is $6.99 and the BCLDB currently stocks 3,249 bottles of this wine.

It is believed that the OKV Select Red and Select White VQA wines will still be available in private beer and wine stores. 


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