Why Can’t I Find My Favorite Wine?

Consumers tend to imagine wine being produced at a bucolic Napa vineyard by a guy in an apron, but that’s not necessarily so, says the Hungry Beast in “How Wine Became Like Fast Food.” Wine and spirits stores like Total Wine and BevMo! are making and marketing their own private-label wines now. “Such brands are highly lucrative,” writes Keith Wallace, “with profit margins often 20% higher than comparable wines.”

The trend isn’t limited to dedicated booze stores: “Trader Joe’s has its ‘Two Buck Chuck,’ Wal-Mart has its Alcott Ridge, and 7-Eleven has its Thousand Oaks Vineyards.” Retail chains love the private-label wines because Joe Glug-a-bottle starts to associate this wonderful grape beverage with the company that introduced him to it—and is tempted to stop by more often to get more.