After nearly 18 months, it's become more and more difficult to write an intro to a story about alcohol that doesn’t just say “everybody drank more during the pandemic.” You could even make a drinking game out of all the articles we’ve published in the last year that have “pandemic” in the first paragraph. But you get the point: everybody drank more during the pandemic.
We’re still drinking now that things are reopening, but less so in our living rooms and more at restaurants and bars. As a result, the price of wine appears to be going down.
Prices for seven major brands on Vivino, a wine marketplace and rating app, show that the cost of wine has dropped 8.7% over the last three months as restaurants and bars have begun to reopen across the country, according to Thinknum data. A study from the National Institute of Health found that 60% of participants reported an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic, with increased stress, availability of alcohol, and boredom topping the list of reasons why. Those habits helped apps like Vivino enjoy a lucrative 2020 thanks to the pandemic: The company raised a $155 million Series D earlier this year and its App Store reviews (not shown) have grown steadily over the last three months.
A closer look at Vivino’s data shows that changes in price fluctuate significantly among brands. U.S.-based winemakers are generally seeing their prices rise while their foreign counterparts have become significantly more affordable. Some, like Napa-based Aubert and Washington-based Quilceda Creek have seen their prices jump by 25.8% and 21.3% respectively since late April, while international winemakers like the Italian Antinori and French Chateau Mouton Rothschild have seen prices drop by 10% and 27% respectively.
Towards the end of last year, the pandemic-fueled drinking habits and holiday season perfectly coincided to make the price of wine (and chocolate) skyrocket as winemakers and apps struggled to keep up with isolation-induced thirst. Today, that gap has evened out somewhat. Inventory at multinational wine retailer Naked Wines had decreased as much as 15% just before Thanksgiving last year while prices shot up by as much as 38%. As of April, that gap had narrowed significantly.
Whether it’s in your living room or out at the bars, prices for alcohol are on the rise. But for those still opting to stay at home, foreign brands and the cost of ordering wine in general have become more affordable, for the time being.