Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

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Steve L Gellman
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Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#1 Post by Steve L Gellman » February 23rd, 2019, 10:37 am

This has been creeping up on me but I'm getting close to being priced out of the CA wine market. I'm lucky enough to have started my collection in the mid 90's. Abreu, Bryant, Colgin, Harlan, Screagle & Shafer HSS all at around $100 or under. Still have some of these in my cellar. I understand through the years normal inflation will cause prices to raise. But now a lot of top Napa Cabs start at $400 and up. I've kept buying my favorites for years but now it's reached a point where I just can't justify spending that kind of money for wine. I wonder how people starting today will be able to afford and experience these wines. Yes there are other wines at lower price points but at one time some of the best were affordable

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#2 Post by Chr!s G|@rn3r » February 23rd, 2019, 11:17 am

Steve L Gellman wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 10:37 am
I wonder how people starting today will be able to afford and experience these wines. Yes there are other wines at lower price points but at one time some of the best were affordable
As a relative newbie, there is no way I’d consider paying that much for a bottle. I’d like to experience these wines sometime...Maybe I’ll find a paid wine tasting or get invited to a wine event where someone will share them.

But, as you said, there is a lot of great and affordable wine out there so I don’t really care or think about these labels. Since i’ve never tried any of them, I can’t be sure but I’d guess there are some “affordable” wines (at least in comparison) that can compare in quality.

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#3 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » February 23rd, 2019, 11:26 am

There’s a lot of great wine out there for reasonable prices. That’s like saying you can’t afford burgundy because drc is too expensive.

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#4 Post by John S » February 23rd, 2019, 11:35 am

I think this has happened to nearly any old timer. For myself I simply swapped to learn and taste from other areas in the relevant price range. One can simply sell some high priced stuff to purchases the high priced stuff one likes the best. All of these are "good" problems to have so to speak.

Personally I'd love to drink great Burgundy every day but am long since priced out. Cru Bojo helps scratch that itch but of course is not the same.
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Steve L Gellman
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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#5 Post by Steve L Gellman » February 23rd, 2019, 11:58 am

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 11:26 am
There’s a lot of great wine out there for reasonable prices. That’s like saying you can’t afford burgundy because drc is too expensive.
I did say there are good wines at lower price points. Just that unfortunately people just starting will never be able to taste them.

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#6 Post by M Passo » February 23rd, 2019, 12:19 pm

The wine experience is multifaceted. Collecting for many years I have been through some highly rated bottles being "meh" and cheap bottles being awesome. Not to say DRC isn't great, but my 2 bottles of 1989 La Tache paid for a lot of law school for my 1989 birthyear son when I sold it. The wine experience is filled with food and friends and I get more kick out of wine that is great and reasonable and made by people I adore and respect their craft. Underpromise and overdeliver is my mantra and selling my most expensive bottles for other life purposes and enjoying life on a kayak rather than a yacht. Bring on over-inflated prices of high-end wine as I unload them and reinvest in other things.
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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#7 Post by Justin S » February 23rd, 2019, 2:20 pm

Steve L Gellman wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 10:37 am
This has been creeping up on me but I'm getting close to being priced out of the CA wine market. I'm lucky enough to have started my collection in the mid 90's. Abreu, Bryant, Colgin, Harlan, Screagle & Shafer HSS all at around $100 or under. Still have some of these in my cellar. I understand through the years normal inflation will cause prices to raise. But now a lot of top Napa Cabs start at $400 and up. I've kept buying my favorites for years but now it's reached a point where I just can't justify spending that kind of money for wine. I wonder how people starting today will be able to afford and experience these wines. Yes there are other wines at lower price points but at one time some of the best were affordable
As a newcomer in the last 1-2 years, I honestly couldn't care less about those $400+ Napa wines, especially when some of the very best cabs for my palate are sold at far less money. For example, CA wines like Mount Eden ($70) and Ridge Montebello ($140-200) still provide a lot of value for money and for many, are better wines. No one is getting priced out of great CA wines if they are willing to spend about $100. While you acknowledge that there are other good wines available, it appears that you consider it a shame that many will never experience those cult wines. But the point is that newer collectors don't have the same sentimental value you have for them, and therefore it is no great shame at all, especially given that it's debatable whether those cult wines are even better than less expensive alternatives.

The title of the thread should be renamed to "I am being priced out of cult cabs." Consider this a good time to focus on finding new discoveries, and perhaps you'll find some gems that leave you wondering why anyone would pay $400+ for those other wines.

Also consider that for 95% of the market, even $100 is a ton to spend on a single bottle of wine. Those who are only willing to spend $50 at the top end are truly the ones being priced out of CA cab.
Last edited by Justin S on February 23rd, 2019, 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#8 Post by Mark Y » February 23rd, 2019, 2:35 pm

I'm with Mike, if i had old screagle and harlan in the cellar, i'd want their value to go through the roof even more. ;)
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Steve L Gellman
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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#9 Post by Steve L Gellman » February 23rd, 2019, 2:58 pm

Mark Y wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 2:35 pm
I'm with Mike, if i had old screagle and harlan in the cellar, i'd want their value to go through the roof even more. ;)
Bought them to drink not sell. Only wines I sold on secondary market was Screagle

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#10 Post by Mark Y » February 23rd, 2019, 3:07 pm

Steve L Gellman wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 2:58 pm
Mark Y wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 2:35 pm
I'm with Mike, if i had old screagle and harlan in the cellar, i'd want their value to go through the roof even more. ;)
Bought them to drink not sell. Only wines I sold on secondary market was Screagle
Sure, but it's nice to have options right? you can drink them! or sell them and buy something else you might like..
i'd love to have a cellar full of old Screagle.. to drink.. to sell.. to fund the helicopter with.. etc. ;)
Y.e.

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#11 Post by Bryce K » February 23rd, 2019, 5:28 pm

Even if I had the money to buy $400 wine, I doubt it would be a common occurrence. I stopped buying $225 Peter Michael after one round of allocations, because I can drink fantastic wine at $100 and not feel any regrets and I made the decision that I would prefer to drink a greater variety of less expensive wine than half a case of >$200 wine.
Sure, there is a segment of wine I may never get to drink, which is a shame, but I can't justify it. But just like there are cars I'll never drive and islands I'll never visit, I'm good with that.
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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#12 Post by Dave McCloskey » March 8th, 2019, 1:09 pm

Schrader and Maybach are still reasonably priced and on a good vintage will compare favorably with Colgin and Screaming Eagle. There are other high end Cab makers that are also under the $400, Hundred Acre, Tor, Pride, O' Shaughnessy and many others.

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#13 Post by Kirk.Grant » March 28th, 2019, 4:26 am

Steve L Gellman wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 10:37 am
This has been creeping up on me but I'm getting close to being priced out of the CA wine market. I'm lucky enough to have started my collection in the mid 90's. Abreu, Bryant, Colgin, Harlan, Screagle & Shafer HSS all at around $100 or under. Still have some of these in my cellar. I understand through the years normal inflation will cause prices to raise. But now a lot of top Napa Cabs start at $400 and up. I've kept buying my favorites for years but now it's reached a point where I just can't justify spending that kind of money for wine. I wonder how people starting today will be able to afford and experience these wines. Yes there are other wines at lower price points but at one time some of the best were affordable
I think this is the nature of things in this economy. When there are limited, or low-production wines with only so many bottles eventually there's going to be a point where they're either hard to find or out of what even wine geeks would consider a "reasonable" price range. You're focusing on Napa Cabs, but it's happening in almost every major wine region and some more-so than others. First Growths can still be found for around $400 in "off vintages" but that's damn expensive. The top-tier Burgundies are beyond dreaming about at this point. Champagne will get to that point soon enough, but it's already creeping up that way when Salon is $500 or Krug vintage starts in the $325 range. High-end dinners, trade tastings, or shared bottles are the only way folks will get a chance to experience these special wines. To me, it's getting to a point that the only way you're going to get to know and understand these wines is to actually become a Sommelier and sweat it out in the best restaurants, working the floor, and hoping to get invited to these big trade events.
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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#14 Post by Dave Sankaran » April 11th, 2019, 2:37 pm

Its true that top wines from pretty much any country are priced thru the roof nowadays.

Its also true that there is a bunch of competent, enjoyable wine available from many/most countries for a very reasonable amount of money.

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#15 Post by Dave Sankaran » April 11th, 2019, 2:41 pm

I should add, I don't find many "good to great" wines in the Cali Cab realm for lower prices...partly (solely) that's due to my preference for subtle oak and lower heat/alcohol, higher acidity wines. But I do enjoy and drink cali cab on occasion, but for me I've concluded its not a "value" region.

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Joe W i n o g r a d
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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#16 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » April 11th, 2019, 3:01 pm

Every year my average purchase price goes down and my average rating goes up .... this is a game of skill, not of chance

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Re: Slowly Getting Priced Out Of The Wine Experience

#17 Post by Josh Grossman » April 11th, 2019, 3:28 pm

Dave Sankaran wrote:
April 11th, 2019, 2:41 pm
I should add, I don't find many "good to great" wines in the Cali Cab realm for lower prices...partly (solely) that's due to my preference for subtle oak and lower heat/alcohol, higher acidity wines. But I do enjoy and drink cali cab on occasion, but for me I've concluded its not a "value" region.
I've been finding that I like 15-25 year old cabs from northern Sonoma, Santa Cruz, mountains (including Howell and Spring), and the Sierra foothills more than most 7 year old Napa Valley cabs. There are the great AVA's of Rutherford, Oakville, and St. Helena that are opulent and best between seven and ten years of aging and then there are the rest of the North Coast, mountains (Sierra foothills and Santa Cruz), and Sonoma. If you want a 100 point Cab it's going to cost you no matter where it's from. If you want a great cab--there are still many bargains. Even if you want that opulent Cab that doesn't need decades of cellaring, Paso Robles is making great wine that stands up to all but the very top of Napa Valley.

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