Editor's Letter


How Investors View the Wine Economy

March 2016
by Jim Gordon

BETWEEN PRODUCTION OF THE FEBRUARY ISSUE and this one for March, our entire staff spent three days at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, Calif. It is quite possible we saw you there, too, among the 13,800 attendees.

Unified is always the best and biggest wine industry function of the year, as much for catching up with old friends as for seeing new products and equipment in the trade show. When you add in the conference sessions, there is no better place to get a sense of how our industry is doing.

So how is it doing? Answering that question was the goal of the State of the Industry session held Jan. 27 during Unified. Our editorial team covered that crowded meeting and posted our report online that day, along with three other news stories that detailed other aspects of the symposium. (Read them here.)

The State of the Industry is solid, according to the speakers, who variously study the global economy, grow grapes, buy and sell bulk wine, and collect wine shipment data.

Collectively they said grape and wine supply and demand is balanced, and wine sales continue to increase. Some things are not perfect, however, such as the decreasing demand for lower priced wines, troublesome competition from craft beer and unsettled economies worldwide.

It was also enlightening to hear in a smaller panel discussion the perspective of experts who are just outside the wine production tier looking in, including a vineyard real estate appraiser, Tony Correia of the Correia Co.; a banker, Charles Day of Rabobank; an institutional investor, Randall Pope of Westchester Group/TIAA-CREF; and a winery mergers and acquisitions facilitator, Mario Zepponi of Zepponi & Co. Their topic was an “Update on Capital Markets, Values and Investing,” and below I will paraphrase a few of their insights.

What are you most worried about?


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