Wine business prospers in Arkansas, more businesses try to get in on selling it

As wine consumption is up in the state, more businesses are trying to get in the game.

More people are trading their cold beer for a glass of wine. The entire industry is changing according to wine makers and liquor store owners. Most of your wine-related questions can be answered with a trip to Altus.

In the Wine Capital of Arkansas, Post Vineyards was planted in 1880. Six generations later, over 1,200 cases are bottled a day, several days a week. They’ve kept their brand, but the wine you’ll drink there today is different than it was years ago.

“The main thing we’ve seen is a trend towards the fruitier, lighter, less of the dessert wine and more of the fruity, semi-carbonated style wine,” said Post Winery wine-maker, Paul Post.

David Bevans owns Legacy Wine and Spirits in Little Rock.

“As people become of age, they want to try new things,” said Bevans. “Brand loyalty doesn’t really exist anymore.”

He sees his customers wanting to try different kinds of wines which is why liquor stores are requesting more varieties.

Crediting better quality wine now, Post Winery sales have gone up.

“We sell well over a million bottles a year of wine,” said Post Winery wine-maker, Joseph Post.

While beer is still drinkers' choice, a 2016 report from a local wine and spirits consultant, There Performance Group, shows while alcohol consumption has dropped in Arkansas since 2008, wine consumption has grown by 33 percent.

“The numbers show it. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact,” said Bevans.

Bevans points to one group of people for changing the industry: millennials.

“It’s a whole different market. Millennials have changed the whole retail market by ordering online. Everything,” said Bevans.

That’s why wine clubs, buying on eBay or Amazon, is popular. While this practice isn’t legal in Arkansas, the state did pass a law this year allowing small farm wineries to ship wine directly to homes.

“We are not in any way doing shipping right now, but it is something we’ve looked at,” said Paul Post.

Back to convenience, restrictions were taken away on what wine grocery stores in Arkansas can sell.

“You look at other states, stores do close when this happens,” said Bevans.

More people aren’t just turning from beer to wine, but they’re buying wine in different ways and packages. You can now find wine in a can. Buying wine with a twist cap instead of a cork isn’t as taboo as it once was.

“It used to be considered a cheap wine, but now there’s really nice wine that comes in a twist cap,” said Bevans.

Only time will tell how the industry will continue to evolve as more people are turning to wine, shaping the industry.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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