Have We Reached Peak Napa Pricing?

I couldn’t help but notice the continued softening trend of auction prices out of Napa’s darling producers, extending well beyond marquee names now into the much smaller, cultish producers - many now actually below release price, despite many well endowed with RP scores in the 99-100 range. Have we reached the pinnacle yet? I must say that I’ve stopped playing the point chasing game in full a little over a year ago, and it’s been one of the most freeing decisions I’ve made. And quite honestly, I don’t feel I am drinking any worse, yet my wallet thanks me tremendously. To what extent is the market shifting more in this manner?

I think we have generally reached the pinnacle. With rare exceptions, most wines are at or below release price if you find them later in the secondary market. In most cases, the top previous vintages are trading for less than the current release prices, so I don’t think there is any more room for most producers to increase prices.

Doesn’t it depend on the price of land in Napa?

Or does the price of land depend on the demand for high-end wines?

This is not 100* thinking.

Well, there was a post here someplace about buying a winery in Napa. The advice given was that the new owners should double the price (from $30 to $60 or something like that). So maybe it’s the inflated demand for high-priced wines.

Definitely not.

You may know the old saying, “The quickest way to make a small fortune in the wine business is to start out with a big fortune.”

This same question has been asked many times over the years. The answer has almost always been that prices are pretty much topped out.

That’s wrong every time. It will be wrong this time.

Apparently land isn’t worth anything. It’s all about the brand :wink:

I just read on Commerce Corner that someone was selling schraders at a couple of dollars above cost.

Not doubting you, but can you give some examples?

A classic example is Paul Hobbs To Kalon. The 2012 came out at $425, and it shows up on Wine Searcher now in the mid-300s.


Boom. This.

That is probably because 2013 was released. Vintage of the century trumps vintage of the decade especially after 2011. As well, 2014 is known to be lesser than 2013 but we are going to stock up on it due to low yields in 2015. The 2013 prices are still higher than release and fear of 2015 around the corner will stabilize 2014. 2015 will have a price increase because of low yields so…

I don’t think there’s any end in sight. It’s only going to be a shift in some of the names which are fetching the big bucks. As Brand X from Vineyard A falls out of favor, Brand Y from Vineyard B will supplant it as the bottle to have.

Yup, I think there is still some ‘room to give’ on a price climb.

When Spottswoode hits 250, that will be peak market.

Maybe prices will go down when some of the mortgages get paid off. But somehow I doubt it…

Larkmead has.