We'd been warned. A looming shortage of wine grapes caused grape prices to jump last year, and wine prices were sure to follow. Now a new report shows that prices for wines by the glass at restaurants have steadily increased during the past six months as wine inventories shrink.
Wine drinkers who saw a buyer's market during the recession will have to get used to higher prices as the shortage continues and demand expands.
The Los Angeles Times' Tiffany Hsu reports that wine prices rose most significantly at either end of the dining spectrum. At white-tablecloth restaurants, wine prices climbed 5.4%, according to Restaurant Sciences, a firm that tracks food and beverage product sales. And at family-dining establishments, where the average meal costs $38.50 or less, prices surged 8.4%.
But at casual and upscale-casual restaurants, where average bills are $38.50 to $122.50, wine prices have risen less than 2%.
Wine served in glasses, bottles or carafes brought $289 million in annual sales at restaurants, according to the report, which covers more than 5,000 restaurants excluding nightclubs, hotel restaurants, fast-food outlets and concession stands.
But there are still some places where you can get great values. Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold recommends three in particular: "Philippe, which has some unusually posh things by the glass; Terroni, where all the wines are priced the same, so that you can order by taste instead of cost; and Upstairs 2, above, and owned by, Wine House."