Wine and the economic downturn: a sense of paradox

It’s a story about the Emerald Inn in the New York Times that got me thinking about the whole, strange relationship between wine (and booze in general) and the economy.

You see, the Emerald Inn is a historic pub from New York’s Upper West Side that was supposed to close in the spring, because its rent was set to more than double in the red-hot Big Apple real estate market. Until that market tanked, and the owners saw that they’d never get a tenant who could pay that much. The owners traded down a bit (but still raised the rent), and so the Guinness will keep flowing, and the customers will keep drinking. And everyone seems happy. And if they’re not, they’ll probably be drowning their sorrow in an extra pint anyways.

Which is a bit what has been happening in the wine business over the holidays. (more…)