Is this the beginning of a trend? Perhaps. One major importer, Marco di Grazia, is lowering his prices, and with a worldwide glut of good wine, more are likely to follow.
When that happens, look for retailers to start cutting the prices of slow-moving stock already on their shelves. Slow-moving Piedmontese and Tuscan 1986s and 1987s -- decent but unexciting vintages sandwiched between the excellent 1985s and 1988s -- are especially strong candidates for price reductions.
A new wind of realism is beginning to blow through the marketplace. Italian wines might soon be a value again.
Maryland's wine industry gets its annual chance to strut its stuff the Maryland Wine Festival next Saturday and Sunday at the Carroll County Farm Museum.
The festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, offers tastings, seminars, entertainment, crafts and grape-stomping. Admission for adults is $10, which entitles fairgoers to 10 1-ounce samples and a souvenir tasting glass. Children accompanied by adults can enter free.
For information, call (301) 848-7775, 876-2667 or (800) 654-4645.