Wine on Valentine’s

Wine sales during Valentine’s Day on the Upper West Side have declined, with the holiday not being able to compete with traditional family holidays, such as Christmas, and neither storeowners nor customers expecting a boost in sales.

While wine is traditionally a big seller around Christmas and Thanksgiving, it has suffered on Valentine’s Day. Large amounts are bought on holidays involving many friends and family, but when someone wants to have an intimate dinner, purchasing one or two bottles is the norm.

“Most purchases [on Valentine’s Day] are rushed and last minute,” said Nancy Maniscalco, owner of Nancy’s Wines located on the Upper West Side. “At the most they will buy one or two bottles of red and, maybe, some pink wine.”

While many customers admitted to enjoying the occasional glass of wine, few were actually purchasing anything for Valentine’s Day itself. A young man, who lives in the West Village, standing outside Nancy’s, stated, “Sure I like wine, but I’m not going to get anything for Monday [Valentine’s]. I’d rather just take her out for a movie than have to do the romantic dinner thing.”

Though Valentine’s Day is not the best day for sales, wine has traditionally done well during the holidays. According to the wine magazine Decanter, despite the looming recession in 2007, the US wine market swelled to an estimated $30 billion. The wine markets value rose by 8 percent, leaving the nation on the verge of overtaking France and Italy in terms of volume. In 2010 the Wine Business Monthly reported seeing a 6 percent bump in wine sales during the holiday season.

H. Tres Meyer, proprietor of the wine store Pour, has done his best to push his product on Valentine’s Day. The walls of his store were adorned with decorations. Champagne and pink wine, Pour’s best sellers, were placed on the front rack with special Valentine’s deals- ‘Bubbles [champagne] & Jacques Torres [chocolate]’ in gift baskets.

Calling it a busy day for his store, Mr. Meyer said that the customers on Valentine’s were mostly his regulars. His rationale was people don’t want to take a risk on a new store when they are shopping at the last minute, as many people do on Valentine’s Day.

Sales clerk Peter Button, who is from the Central Bronx and works at Pour, said, “What you find now is that the same number of bottles are going out the door, but at a lower price per bottle.” Hearing this Mr. Meyer immediately stepped forward, refused to discuss sales further and asserted that he ran a “very profitable business.”

Though most customers agreed that wine, being a luxury good, is hard to buy on a regular basis, many still partake just because it’s a day of celebration. Sidharth, visiting from London, did not plan to celebrate with wine on Valentine’s, saying his girlfriend would rather he “buy her something [more] expensive” than a glass of red wine. He purchased two bottles of red wine for himself as he spoke.

“I enjoy a glass of red wine as and when I can afford it!” exclaimed Jeremy, 23, a student from New York with a sardonic smile on his face. “I’ll buy a bottle for Valentine’s Day whether I have a date or not. People treat themselves for holidays.”


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