Brand name insanity the Prisoner

Can you imagine it being worth $285M?
Constellation again.

P Hickner

Just saw this news as well. Craziness.

I remember when the 2004 and 2005 prisoner came out, and I thought it was actually a decent wine at the time. Tried the 2013 the other day and it was nothing at all like what I remember those initial wines tasting like. Guess that’s what happens when you increase production by 150,000 cases.

I’m not surprised by this at all. Blends in general are on the rise according to data collected on a nationwide basis, and these brands seem to have staying power.

They tend to be ‘CA’ appellation wines now, so they are free to source from anywhere. I know that in SB County, for instance, this last harvest, I saw them buying large swaths of blocks of both white and red grapes - and there’s no reason that won’t continue.

And from a profit margin standpoint, my guess is that these blends are killing it.


The Prisoner is the wine that lots of people say they like because other people say they like it, so everyone thinks they’re supposed to like it and don’t want to say they don’t like it because they’re afraid they’ll be seen as not knowing what’s good.
It’s the Eric Clapton of wine.

That was awesome. Perfect analogy!



Was Eric Clapton good??

I see it served at so many dinner parties. Not surprised by the sale or sale price.


I think I was probably one of the first accounts to carry Phinney’s wine at Dean & Deluca in St. Helena. Somewhere there is a picture of him that I took hand delivering the first box. How times change

Interesting Doug. It was your store that introduced me to the Prisoner. We stopped in around May 2002 and it was one of the wines recommended. Bought a half case. It was a good wine. If I remember at the time I thought it was a poor man’s Phelps Insignia.

Times change.

To think it all started with a stuck fermentation…

Why does that remind me of another wine boom phenomenon? :wink:

Eric Clapton shot the sheriff, not the prisoner. FWIW, tried the wine once (double blind) and it was interesting. Not least because nobody could pick it :wink:. Sounds like an awful lot for the “brand”…

Interesting. This was amongst our first “favorite” wines. I think the first vintage we tried was '04, but I know that by '05 we were buying a case, or more, per year. '06, '07 (its best vintage, I think) and '08 … And then it started going downhill. Fast. (The wine at least; the price just continued to increase.) We stopped buying by the '10 vintage.

“The firm paid $315 million for Joe Wagner’s Pinot Noir brand Meiomi last July.”

To me, that’s even more surprising. At least with The Prisoner, they’re getting five brands (The Prisoner, Saldo, Cuttings, Blindfold and Thorn). I still regret the measly $20 I paid for Meiomi. :wink:

Fantastic, til he stopped the H.

And Constellation’s stock jumped 6% on the news! [snort.gif]

How can this be financially feasible even long term? I am sure Constellation has better number crunchers than I (at least I would hope), but that seems like a crazy premium for no hard assets.
Alas, Dave Phinney sold the company to Huneeus Vintners in 2010 (for an estimated $40 mil) so he won’t be seeing that Huge paycheck. Huneeus increased production from 85K cases to 170k since then. Hmm, 2x the production 7x the return in 6 years- that’s a big time flip! You sold too soon Dave!

Maybe it’s time to buy a winery. Ha.

Suxcess story about to unfold, or something like that.

You would have to pay me to buy Saldo, syrupy mess. I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in it. This coming from someone who likes a fair number of fruit bombs.

is 170k cases just prisoner or all brands?