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Understanding The Wine Business In America With Jay Youmans MW - Hybrid

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    Mon, June 12, 2023 (6:30 PM - 8:30 PM)

Capital Wine School
5207 Wisconsin Avenue - Suite # 7
Washington, DC 20015
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Cost: $375.00

4-class series

The wine business in America is one of the most regulated, complicated, yet unique industries in the world. Regardless if you are a student, distributor, retailer, importer, restauranteur, writer, blogger, or simply a wine lover, this course is essential to fully understanding how wine is sold in the U.S.

Students may choose to attend the following class sessions in person at the Capital Wine School or online via Zoom:

June 12, 19, 26, and July 3 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

We will examine the structure of the industry, and the principal factors that determine how wine gets to market, which wines sell, why they sell, and how they are priced. Next we will assess the different channels a producer must navigate in getting a wine to the consumer. We will highlight the major players in each tier of the distribution system and reveal who really makes the most profit. We will identify the various types of wine consumer, and pinpoint what determines their purchasing behavior. Together will survey the challenges and obstacles posed by the federal, state, and local governments; and why this is changing rapidly in some states, while hardly changing in others. Finally, you will learn how to monitor, predict, and navigate your way through this of this fascinating industry.


Jay Youmans MW is owner of Rock Creek Wine Merchants, a sales & marketing consulting firm. His experience spans over three decades in the wine industry, working as a sommelier, restaurant consultant, retailer, wholesale distributor, importer, broker, wine writer, lecturer and educator. He is the owner of The Capital Wine School in Washington, DC. His credentials include: Bordeaux Wine Educator (Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin), Burgundy Wine Educator (BIVB), French Wine Scholar (FWS), Italian Wine Professional (IWP), Advanced Level Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers), Certified Wine Educator (CWE – Society of Wine Educators), and Master of Wine (MW) which he passed in 2004 receiving Vina Errazuriz Trophy for writing the outstanding paper on the Business of Wine.

  • Introduction
  1. Why this is important to anyone in the wine business
  2. What we will cover
  3. How the wine business is different
  4. Vintages and changes
  5. Wine is line produce
  • Laws & Regulations
  1. TTB
  • Main Factors
  1. The legacy of prohibition
  2. The 3 Tier system
  3. For wine, America is not an open market and it is very complicated
  4. Control states
  5. Demographics of consumption
  6. Grape supply (domestic vs global)
  7. Wine Supply
  • What sells
  1. Style
  2. Varietal
  3. Import vs Domestic
  4. Price points
  • Why it sells
  1. Taste and quality are not the most important factors…
  2. Price
  3. Style
  4. Convenience
  5. Points of Distribution
  6. Third party endorsements and wine writers
  7. The Illusion of Scarcity
  8. Social Media
  • Laws & Regulations
  1. AVA’s vs AOP
  2. Who are the laws meant to protect?
  3. Who does it benefit?
  4. Looking at the DMV
  5. VA
  6. MD
  • DC
  • The 3-Tier System & who makes the most profit?
  1. Producer / Grower / Winery
  2. Importer
  3. Distributor
  4. Retail / On-Premise
  • Where it sells
  1. Independent retail
  2. Chain/Grocery
  3. Clubs
  4. Specialty
  5. Convenience stores
  6. On-premise HORCA
  7. Direct to Consumer (DTC)
  • Wine Costs
  1. Land
  2. Labor
  3. Grapes
  4. Wine production equipment
  5. Distribution
  6. Marketing
  • Pricing
  1. Markups by distribution channel
  2. Wine Searcher
  3. The price of a bottle of wine
  4. $100 Cabernet Sauvignon
  5. $20 Chardonnay
  • Consumer Profiles
  1. Age
  2. Life style
  3. Economic factors
  4. Social factors
  • Monitoring Trends and predicting the future
  1. Silicon Valley Bank
  2. Nielson
  3. Gomberg
  4. Ciatti
  5. Report from Virginia
  • Conclusions
  1. Grape supply
  2. Sales trends
  3. Pricing






  • event
  • wine
  • wine business
  • business
  • beginner
  • intermediate
  • advanced
  • online
  • in person
  • hybrid
  • Things to do in Washington, DC
  • Maryland Wine & Food Events
  • Washington Wine & Food Events

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Capital Wine School

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