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The 2010 World Value Wine Challenge
Wine Benefits of the New Normal

Posted: October 28, 2010

By Jerald O’Kennard

The 10th Annual World Value Wine Challenge results are in and the news is good for consumers seeking great tasting wines $20 and under in the age of the “New Normal”. One of the aftereffects of the “Great Recession” is what is being referred to in the wine trade as the New Normal, namely the habit of trading down in price caused by imposed thriftiness continuing on even as the economy improves. In other words, the difficulty of selling many wines over $20, because the demand for those price tiers, for the most part, has softened, or even disappeared.

The New Normal has interesting benefits for wine drinkers. First, some of the excellent quality juice that is not being sold in more expensive brands is being sold at a discount to other, less expensive brands. That activity combined with the increased demand for wines under $20 and historic “wine gluts”, or overproduction, in some wine regions has led to an explosion of value-oriented brands of improved quality, further increasing the New Normal trend of consumers avoiding expensive wines in a somewhat vicious circle for producers of those wines.

That being said, the vicious circle for pricey wine producers is a happy game of spin the bottle for consumers. It’s much easier to try a bunch of new inexpensive wines to find one that you like, but it’s even easier if you let someone else to the “heavy lifting” for you. And that’s where our World Value Wine Challenge comes in. We spun, sipped and spit almost six-hundred wines to find the best tasting, best priced wines for you into four key price categories: $8 and under, $10 and under, $15 and under, and $20 and under and looked at a variety of size formats including the popular 3L casks. We also examined varietal and regional categories to find the “Special Winners” and “Exceptional Values” for a given region’s wines. In fact, one of the surprises of the competition was the strong performance of many the 3L cask or “box” wines. They’re not just for grandmas anymore; they go head-to-head with bottled wines in taste, value, and convenience and in some cases surpass them.

Below are links to the winners and runners up from this year’s contest in various categories and price points. Enjoy.

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