It's five years to the day, January 10, 2008, that my regular wine columns in the Jamaica Observer's Thursday Life began with an article entitled "Buying wine in the supermarket - Chris Reckord takes to the aisles". That week I visited six retail outlets to ascertain what was really going on with wine in the retail space.
Fast-forward to 2013. I took a quick peek back inside those same locations I visited five years ago to get an update. The establishments included MegaMart, Hi-Lo Barbican, Loshusan, Super Valu and Family Pride (SuperPlus Trafalgar Road has since closed its doors). Although some have said that wine sales have increased in general, not much else has changed in terms of the merchandising.
Signage and point-of-sale material are still missing from most supermarket shelves. Most supermarkets still rely on the importer to come in and do tastings to help familiarise customers with the products.
In 2008 I wrote: "Something I also noticed was that it seems that all the supermarkets sold almost the same products; it appears that about four importers dominate the retail shelf space." In general this is still the same.
In 2012 it appeared that Loshusan was the supermarket of choice for wine, as MegaMart has reduced the space dedicated to wines. Loshusan has refreshed the look of its wine space and is looking to expand.
10 Wine trends for 2013 on the Jamaican wine scene
From my observation over the past year, in addition to input from feedback and questions from our readers, these appear to be the local wine trends for 2013.
o More Sweet Red wine
o More "designer" wines - Winemakers are crafting wines for the mass market, think a 'hint' of sweetness with round firm structure.
o Younger wine consumers - Wine is cool for the Gen x drinkers
o Sparkling wine consumption will increase
o Riesling on the rise - Moscato has helped to put back interest to Riesling
o Old-world wines(France, Italy & Spain) on the rebound as seasoned drinkers are looking to taste new wines.
o In general most new wine drinkers really don't care what they are drinking as long as it's wine and it tastes good
o Rising taxes on wine are cause for concern, causing importers to source cheaper wines to maintain price points
o More dedicated wine bars on the local party scene
o Wine consumption will continue to increase
Christopher Reckord - Businessman, Entrepreneur & Wine Enthusiast. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on twitter: @DeVineWines @Reckord