While this economy spells trouble for most restaurants, it also results in very good deals for those who dine out—and, occasionally, even for restaurants themselves.
As many restaurants pare down their wine lists, and others are forced to close, top-end wines once in high demand are now in ready supply—so much so that once-rare bottles can now be snapped up by nearly any restaurant with room in the cellar. Vineyards that once sold to only a limited list are finding their regular buyers, whether restaurants or private consumers, unable or unwilling to purchase their full allotment. So many restaurants are getting their first opportunity in years—if ever—to round out their wine collections. And according to the Los Angeles Times
, these wines are priced lower than ever—on average, nearly one-third less than at this time last year.
For these restaurants, this situation represents something of a dilemma. Of course, with fewer dining customers and greater financial pressure, many restaurants are looking to pare down their wine lists, rather than expand them. But at the same time, bottles once scarce and prohibitively priced are suddenly within an affordable wage.
The real winner here? The customer—who may find that the same wine budget starts to buy a much better bottle. These will be difficult times for many wineries, of course, as they find demand drying up and their own bottle value falling. But for the wine connoisseur, the time is ripe for buying that coveted Cabernet.