By Jim Boyce
Still on the topic of online wine retail, I raised the following issue on Weibo a while back but it is still bothering me, namely, that Grace Vineyard Chairman’s Reserve 2009 is listed with a market price of rmb868 by relatively new retailer TasteV, although if you sign up at the site you get a discount that reduces the price to rmb488:
So, what’s the issue? That reduced price of rmb488 is the list price at website Everwines.com, the retail arm of Torres China, which is the main distributor of Grace Vineyard:
As with TasteV, you must first register at Everwines to buy the wine, thus arguably both have the same “member” price of rmb488. The difference: rmb488 is the default price at Everwines, while TasteV has to give members a rmb380 discount off its lofty market price to get them there.
That rmb868 market price seems high by most any account. For those who don’t want to sign up for a wine website, I imagine the Torres’ chain of Everwines shops will have Chairman’s Reserve on the shelves at rmb488 (one such shop will soon open in Beijing), I have seen this wine at branches of Jenny Lou’s in Beijing for ~rmb500, and there is always this page on Taobao:
To be fair, retail wine prices can be tricky. Some regional Chinese wines can carry different prices depending on who is being targeted. Some prices found on importers’ websites are — seemingly against reason — more expensive than what is listed in the shops. (It keeps the shops happy since they get sales by being cheaper and it keeps restaurants happy since it makes their markups look smaller.) My own experience with Taste V in organizing this contest involved plenty of price checking.
But the case of Grace doesn’t go down well. It is the best-known quality vineyard in China, it has a strong following, and the price of Chairman’s Reserve has remained stable over the years. Anyone with Google search can find that out.
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