Yesterday Robert M. Parker, Jr. made some posts on Twitter and one of them caught my eye. He said, "[the]biggest problem for consumers is the trade is not buying much, diminishing our choices."
It left me wondering if he hasn't got that a backward. It's been my personal experience in my own markets this past year that it is consumers who have tightened their belts, choosing less expensive wines and cutting back on spending in general. As consumers are sitting on their money, retailers, restaurants, importers and distributors are all sitting on inventory. I've talked to many trade partners who have seen an encouraging upswing in sales in January and February; but all are having to adjust their purchases to a stagnant marketplace, either by ordering less wine or by bringing in more wines that fit into the value category (what consumers are showing us they will buy) and cutting the ultra premium (what they are NOT buying.) I'm going to go ahead and say that I think it is the consumer who is not buying much, limiting the choices of the trade to provide them with options.
I'd LOVE to hear your opinions.