"Little Sisters" Pushing Back Against CA Negotiants

Some of Napa’s well known brands have moved into a new price category with lesser labels.
Instead of bulking off wine which did not make the cut for final blends to Wine Access or de Negoce, etc., wineries such as Opus, Far Niente, Spottswoode, Plumpjack/Cade/Odette and others spotted a pricing vacuum and are in the $80 and up range with another more profitable bottling run referred to as little sister wines.
The old school marketing concept of diluting a brand is now outdated by brand cache and makes mucho mas $ense.
It just took a while to concur with the Bordelaise.
Too soon to say this will catch on like wildfire?

From a winery perspective, it certainly makes more monetary sense . . . but they will not get the same immediate cash flow that they would get by bulking it off to someone else . . . and they incur a lot more costs up front.

That said, there is something to knowing the exact source of the wine you purchase rather than ‘guesses’ or ‘innuendos’, right? Or does that not matter to folks and just ‘what’s inside the bottle’ does?


It likely will come down to whether they can successfully brand the “little sister” wines well enough to justify the still significant price.


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Seems like Dominus has been doing this with Napanook for some time. Not sure how well Napanook moves for them.

This showed up on my feed the other day, showcasing about a dozen lower-priced siblings as $80 “value” wines.

Cellar Defenders! neener [snort.gif]

Other examples include VASO (Dana Estates) and The Mascot (Harlan family) although The Mascot still costs >$100. The former especially the 2016 is great QPR.

I’ve been tempted to purchase Napanook in the past.

Napanook is fantastic for the price. One of the best values out there.


Isn’t this just a second wine and what Bdx has been doing for decades? I don’t get how this is novel.

That said, I do think it fills a void in the price points of Napa. If we can call $80 value, that’s another debate

Overture is not $80…

Hasn’t this been going on for a long time? There are plenty of other examples of “Super Seconds” from Napa wineries. Dalla Valle’s Collina, Prince of Hearts from Blankiet, The Matriarch from Bond. Is a $300+ The Maiden a value - maybe relative to the $1000 Harlan? I’ll leave that up to you.

This certainly has been going on for a long time, but there just seems to be an ‘explosion’ of new ones, and it makes a nice story to tell . . .


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Fascinating that it no longer “cheapens the brand or image”, right?

Well . . . if it was a $20 or $25 wine, maybe - but at $70 or $80, I guess it does not . . . Crazy how the market has become so ‘delineated’ that these are now ‘values’ . . . Still can’t wait for most consumers to realize that there are other wines besides Napa Cabs out there [snort.gif]


Looking forward to the day when $80/bottle Oregon wines are viewed as bargains! That would make things a LOT easier up here.


No doubt.

No reason to pay for someone else’s real estate inflation. The NAPA/Sonoma situation has driven me to Italy, France, Spain, Argentina and Chile. I am thankful for this. Tech boys, sports figure, movie stars, musicians and boutique Californians can sell that land for another 10x. I am thankful for the family run wineries and vineyards elsewhere. Thankful for Oregon and Washington wines too! I do pay for Cali wines, but it’s time to find better wines elsewhere. “BOTTLE SHOCK” has a second chapter. This chapter is about real estate. I also love what climate change and modern growing/winemaking has done to shake up 1855 Bordeaux. Napoleon III is cringing.

What’s new here, even for Napa ? Spottswoode has been making their Lyndenhurst Cabernet for almost 20 years now, Overture from Opus One has been offered even longer. Explosion ? Maybe a string of firecrackers over the last 3 decades …

And whether there is enough draw on the winery’s flagship wine to keep the little sister from cannibalizing the upper tier.

That said, I back the move. Personally, I would always rather know who produced a wine than guess.


Not me. I would rather have you for a neighbor than x, y, and z neighbors with unplumbed checkbooks here to show us how it’s done.

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