Match 2011, or not

I just got an email from Randy indicating they took the bold step of not releasing 2011. I’ve not encountered such a decision from Napa producers in my relatively short time collecting. I’m impressed by Randy’s decision but wondered what others thought and if other recent examples are out there?


I plan to donate because it sounds like a good cause, just curious how long the 25% off is good for?

Guess I should of thought about that and addressed it in the email. Let’s say until the end of April because the Foster Association is trying to get all the funds in place early May.

Not in respect to Randy’s wine at all; but normally your belief in the altruist nature of not releasing a wine as a few in Napa have done, usually means someone f*cked something up and it’s not releasable. Not that they didn’t want to release a wine and actually make a return.

Sarah, I don’t know you, but I question what you know about this matter. I never said nor implied that my decision to declassify our 2011 wines was based on my innate altruism.

We only use grapes we grow ourselves. Because of the very small crop we were able to bring in, my cost of goods for bottles of my wine would have been above my retail price and that would have been if I’d blended my two vineyards. We have always produced single vineyard wines. The quality of the wine was ok, but it was not what my very loyal customers have come to expect from us. So rather than try to entice my customers to buy a wine or wines that were not up to our usual standards, I chose to declassify it and sell it off in bulk.

Altruistic? Hardly. I sacrificed short term gain to preserve long term reputation for my brand.

Did somebody fck up? We could have harvested 4-5 days earlier when in our opinion the grapes were not ready. Instead, we waited and were hit by a rainstorm of unexpected intensity. That’s farming. That’s why some vintages are better than others. I’m reluctant to label my, my winemaker’s, or my vineyard manager’s inability to see the future as a fck up.

Randy: reread the first line where I specifically said not in reference to your wine or decision. I am sorry if you thought it was an attack on you. It wasn’t at all, I swear, and I hope no one else read it that way. I’ve had your wines and have always thought them to be great quality especially for the price. More in reference to SE and other wines where the owner decided not to release it where word was that something actually went wrong with it.

Once again, not in reference to your decision or wine which I’ve enjoyed.

Sarah, maybe just a badly placed comment even if not focused on Randy. Just saying.

Randy, good work with that Charity. I never confused altruism with hard work, care and perseverance—and care.


It takes a lot of fortitude to make this decision and shows Randy’s level of quality didn’t waiver in a challenging year.
This is an interesting discussion, as you see these type of decisions and then producers touting they made great wine in a challenging year. I was at a party last night and some of my novice wine friends were totally avoiding 2011 based on press reports. I say, stick with your trusted wine producers. They know if they are trying to sell a nonstandard product, that credibly eventually comes in to play.

Does this juice just get bulked out, or what actually happens to it? Also, at what point is this decision made? Did it get to barrel?

Considering an ex-foster kid (who did not thrive in his 7 months “in-system”) is now my son it’s east to sponsor some kids and get a Match discount! 2006 Butterdragon in 375s is very good Cab right now!

I’ll find the link Randy.


These are decisions that get made all the time, at all of our favorite wineries. They just don’t talk about it much. When and why are variables. I personally applaud Randy for having the integrity and thoughtfulness to turn the situation into an opportunity to do some good.

Randy… what can we expect for the 2012 vintage???

Good deal and nice gesture. I would buy more but have a lot of Match already. These wine will age nicely.

Randy, I was truly sorry when I read your email. It amazes me with the risks of weather that there are not more similar stories out there.

While possibly true in some cases, this is so loaded and false I can’t stand it.

Sarah and I are at peace.

Thanks for all the sympathy. If having a grubby harvest is the biggest challenge I face in life, I will be doing okay.

Please don’t allow my decision to affect how you feel about Napa wineries that are releasing 2011s. We just faced a “perfect storm” when we needed to harvest and the clusters literally fell apart in our hands as we tried to pick. Wineries that were able to harvest earlier, or were far enough away from ripeness when the storm hit that the skins were tough, probably made some nice wines. Sometimes Napa surprises us with a growing season that is out of our norm and the wines are unique in style from what regular Napa consumers expect. That will be 2011. They won’t be big, but may even be preferable to old world wine lovers.

Does this juice just get bulked out, or what actually happens to it? Also, at what point is this decision made? Did it get to barrel?

It can happen at any point. In our case, at the custom crush facility where we work, we are contractually obligated to pay for the whole crush, fermentation, and cellar storage of at least 80% of the amount of grapes we predict to bring in. Because of this, I had to pay to make almost 3 times more wine than I was actually able to make. We kept it in the barrel almost up to time to make the decision to bottle since we’d paid for it anyway. I made the decision that rather than pay for bottles, corks, labels, bottling, and storage and then try to sell a vintage that has an iffy reputation in the marketplace, I would sell the wine in bulk. The silver lining was that it was not difficult to find bulk buyers and we got a pretty good price as most wineries are short on 2011s and needed juice.

Randy… what can we expect for the 2012 vintage???

Looking really good, Bud. Hopefully we can get together (this summer?) and taste some.

Kudos to Randy.
that is all.

Randy… what can we expect for the 2012 vintage???

Looking really good, Bud. Hopefully we can get together (this summer?) and taste some.[/quote]

You can count on it, Randy. We’ll be out the last week of July!!!

I have always been a big fan of Randy’s wines…but, based on his handling of this situation, I will, undoubtedly, be increasing my MATCH purchases!!

KUDOS Randy!!!