There is an unfortunate tendency in the media to latch onto a word and use it as a code word for a trendy topic. The result is that the word loses its original (perhaps useful) meaning.
In the wine world, this seems to be happening with the word "value".
And this phenomenon has been going on for a while (for example, see here for similar thoughts some time ago).
"Value" Wine In the Media
Far too often the media equates "value" with a particular price point. A typical headline would be something like "50 Value Wines For Under $10".
No doubt the media are simply responding to the down economy and peoples' desire to get more for their money.
But are these wines truly "values"? That depends on your perspective as a wine drinker.
What Is "Value"?
A product is a value if it provides more than you would expect for the price. To put it in Marketing terms, it's a product that significantly outperforms its price point
Notice that there's nothing in this definition that requires a low price. Values can exist at any price point. It's simply a matter of how a product stacks up to it's competition.
So could the wines in the articles mentioned above be value wines? Absolutely! If a particular $10 bottle of wine is much better than most others in that category, then it's a real value.
The key point that's being ignored in the articles on "value wine" is that not everyone has the same standard for what constitutes a desirable wine.
Let's say that you're used to paying $20-30 for a bottle of wine. Then, those articles may be just what you're looking for. If you can find a $10 bottle of wine that's just as good, then you've found a value.
But suppose that you're been used to buying wines in the $60-80 price range, or even $100 and above for highly-touted wineries. You might want to cut back, but are you going to be happy drinking $10 wines? Unlikely.
Ultra-Premium "Value Wine"
If you're used to spending much more for wine, then you expect to get much better wine. For you, a value might be finding a $40 bottle of wine that's as good as the $60 bottle you used to buy.
But what if you still fondly remember those over-$100 bottles? What you need is a $75 ultra-premium "value wine" that's just as good. They do exist (hint, hint).
Do You Agree?
Does this make sense, or am I out of touch here? Let me know what you think by commenting below.