For those of you with a delusional view of the "Good Old Days" . . .

I admit to occasionally lapsing into nostalgic reminiscing about the Good Old Days when wine was inexpensive and I could buy first growths for $25. However, there was also the issue of limited selection. We recently gutted our basement due to a mold condition and I found a drawer in an old cabinet with clippings I saved of wine sale advertisements. Here is one from January 1978 for a sale of the great 1976 vintage. Yes, the prices are inexpensive, but look at the producers. I know that Dr. Fischer was a major seller in the US at the time, but I think that Zentralkellerei was a government-run central commune with dubious quality.

Hey, you had it good!!

When I was a whippersnapper growing up in leafy Surrey, standard fare was simple: for white wine, Blue Nun; for red wine, Le Piat Beaujolais, or for something more exotic, Bulls Blood. As for an aperitif, we looked no further than Babycham!

Those were the days!

When I were a young nipper, we drank ditch water with barely any age, and ate toad in the hole with real toads. As for spotted dick, the less said about that the better.

So now we see how some of the current critics learned their declarations of “best ever” and “vintage of the century”! Then they honed the skills on actual superlatives.


Prices actually seem expensive, no? If you even use a multiplier of 8, which I think is reasonable(?), you have list of Riesling that’s more expensive than your typical Riesling list these days (for the most part).


Some legendary wines on there!

Very cool! I was yet to see the world at that point and was simply an idea in my parents mind (or a mistake years later). That is really cool to see. Thanks for sharing.

I started on Blue Nun, which was $0.89 in Michigan when I went away to college. I remember the day that the guy in the dorm room next to me came rushing into my room and said he had found a much better wine but it was much more expensive. Liebfraumilch. A $1.19 a bottle. We scraped together an extra $0.30 for the good stuff. The advertisement I attached was already after law school when I was a big fancy lawyer with a $19,500 salary in my second year after graduation.

I just checked the CPI history and it looks like a better multiplier would be 4.3. Remember that we were just getting into hyperinflation at the time and we have had very little inflation in the last few years.

From my cellar book bought in the late 1960’s
1966 Corton Bressandes Domaine chandon de Briailles $5.00
1966 Chateau lascombes $5.00
1961 Chateau Troplong Mondot $4.00
1964 BV GDL Private Rerserve Cabernet $4.00
1962 Chateua D’Yquem $8.50

You had ditch water? Freaking aristocrat!

Cold Duck, Wild Irish Rose, & Lancers Rose !

Now we’re talking. Just need to add Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill and Wiederkehr Alpine Rose.

I remember all of these wines very well. I was in the retail business when they were released. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Zeller Schwartze Katz Spatlesen before.

You have an issue with Schloss Eltz and Schloss Johannisberger? Even with out limited selections, I thought the 1976 Germans were quite good. Not as good as the 1971’s but quite tasty

I just had the 76 Schloss Eltz Langenstuck last week and it was outstanding.

I just stood this one up

Perhaps the real good old days were the early 1990s. You could buy a bottle of the 1992 Screaming Eagle at retail for $60, or a bottle of Phelps Eisele cab for $40. That’s $90 and $60 in 2020 dollars, and the wines are respectively 15 and 8 times more than those prices today. Or you could buy a bottle of Leroy’s Clos Vougeot for $200, which is $370 today. That will set you back about $3,000 for the 2014, a factor of 8-9. If we had enough data we could see when the greatest leap in prices took place, but the impact of the global increase and concentration of wealth that has occurred over the past three decades must rank this era near the top.

With a CPI adjustment of 4.3 these Rieslings’ prices seem comparable to good quality examples today. Yes I did the math - $26 for Kabinett, $30 for Spätlese, $39 for Auslese gets you lots of good quality producers in 2020. If you’re a Riesling fan the good old days never ended!

Good old days - “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then” as Mr. Seger put it. With $19,500 salary in 1976 you were doing well, Jay, and probably not with a shitload of college debt like some young people today. But I wonder if the 4.3 CPI multiplier that you want to apply to wine would also work for lawyer’s salaries?

Ha! Busted! [highfive.gif]