Wine Name Brands: Not Here!!
As a small wine store, we need to differentiate ourselves... somehow. Let's face it: there are many options for a wine consumer to buy wine-- stores are popping up left and right, the internet is full of wine merchants and wine "clubs", now you can buy wine and spirits at your grocery store!
Every week, the major liquor stores run big ads in the newspaper. Often, they feature "name brands". These are the best-selling labels out there, we are talking La Crema, Kendall Jackson, Sonoma Cutrer, Veuve Cliquot, Yellow Tail.... you get the picture. Go into the store, and you will run into a giant "stack" and display of these wines. Usually they are depply discounted. Of course, these mega-stores buy them by the truckload! usually they sell them retail for LESS THAN I CAN BUY THEM WHOLESALE!
People come into CityWine often asking for these brands. They browse our racks and find very little familiar. "Yikes, where's your La Crema, dude??" I go into my canned response about why we do not carry those brands, why I cannot compete even if I did, and how I have BETTER wines for the same price. Most people who come to CityWine don't come in for these wines, anyway. But some do! These brands are "comfortable" to people.
My opinion is that these wines are "mass produced" and "commercial". They are designed to "please the masses". Very Middle-of-the-road... they will not be offensive to anyone. Yet, they take no chances, have little distinct personality, and are frankly.... BORING! There is nothing wrong with them at all. But with so much selection
Sometimes I feel we hurt ourselves in trying to be our "little niche". Our loyal customers are few, but they do really appreciate what we do. We carry more sophisticated wines of distinction, and we try to convince consumers to 1) trust us, 2) experiment and try new things.