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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vintages versus Vintages Essentials

Boys and girls, here is a sad tale...Just about all of the smaller LCBO outlets, which used to have a selection of Vintages products every two weeks as per the release schedule, are being switched over to stocking Vintages Essentials only. The reasoning seems to be sound, in that the few stores in Toronto that I checked with reported "low" or "no" sales at all for the rotation. But by switching over to the Essentials programme, the stores will just be stocking regular product which will be featured week after week with no changes or new labels. In other words, it will just be an extension to the General Listing, albeit at a more expensive price point. Vintages Essentials is beginning to drive Vintages. One source confirmed to me that the Essentials make up 27% of Vintages sales (not sure whether this is dollar value or volume).
As time goes by, more and more products are released through Vintages, but there seems to be fewer and fewer choices of availability being made for the public.
The wine media are denied the opportunity to taste and report on the InStore Discovery (ISD) product, for fear that the publicity would create a panic and a run on the stores. Since the beginning of this year, more and more wines now have a pricepoint of $19.95 -- check the biweekly catalogues yourself...

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