Grey Marketing

The expression "grey market" came into being as an offshoot of the more widely known term "black market" (the illegal trafficking of goods). In the wine trade, grey marketing is the process of securing wine from any source other than the registered/established U.S. importer. Most grey market goods are purchased directly from European retailers or importers, behind the back of the registered U.S. import agent. Grey market goods are often less expensive for the consumer, but they are not held to any standard of provenance except as defined by each individual retailer.

If you purchase grey market goods, you are purchasing the unknown as it is not coming from the winery and there is no way to guarantee how it’s been handled, stored or transported. Many grey marketers buy your wine from any source, under any condition (even from a store window in Singapore that has been baking at 100 degrees for a year). Grey marketers are typically concerned with one thing--price. Price is the most overrated reason to purchase wine. Considering wine is a living substance, don’t you want to know where it has been?