Why doesn’t Bevan sell out?

Bevan wines are REALLY good, obtain very high scores, age well, and are top tier. The wines are similarly priced to other top tier SVDs and his blend is well below.

Why don’t they sell out like other similar producers?

This is not meant to be offensive to Russell as I and many others would have a Bevan cellar at our houses if money was no factor.

Short answer is supply and demand at the posted price. Naturally if it were offered at the price point the market would bear it would sell out.

Russell and I have had dinner a few times, including one New Year’s Eve dinner at Union Square Cafe. Great times. I wish him well, regardless.

Bevan might actually maximize revenue by not selling all the wine. To sell all the wine the price would need to be lower, potentially resulting in less total revenue. This probably isn’t the case, though.

I’m sure the pricing strategy is more about brand protection.

This is not uncommon with the quazi-cultish brands.

I enjoy the wines and think they are great people. It seems like wines the sell through eventually. I think it’s a combination of the relatively high sticker ($195), making a bunch of different wines, and not having a minimum order (which I very much appreciate) that keeps them from selling out immediately.

Perhaps it simply comes down to their distribution model. Maybe they purposely hold back a certain % of their production, either for library wines to offer down the road, or they choose to always have wine available for both new and existing customers.

For wineries to have “revenue events” only once or twice a year, based on new releases, it could be an inherently riskier model to employ, versus making wine available continuously (thereby having a less lumpy revenue stream).

I could clearly be way off base here- admittedly, I don’t know the business of wine, I only know the business of drinking the wine.

Some of the wines sell out. Russell is a very smart guy. I am sure whatever he is doing works for him.

Well, it’s not because of me!! I’m doing my part!

In 2015, Bevan produced 4,000 cases; in 2019 8,000 cases. They’re expanding rapidly.
I’ve also gotten numerous winery mailings during the pandemic from wineries making bottles previously only allocated to restaurants available to their mailing list.
Many exclusive wineries sell 15, 25, 35% of their bottles to restaurants, that gravy-train stalled over the last year. Any winery selling through multiple channels this past year was likely left holding the bag (bottles).
This isn’t the year to gauge success by bottle sales.

I’ll also make a bit of a guess at something. Russell has the authentic approachability, and earnestness that us wine geeks love and reward. He doesn’t exude that exclusive aire that he doesn’t need our business or he has more important things to do than talk with the masses; thus, those looking for exclusivity & trophies often bypass Bevan.
That’s just my take, but I think there’s something to it.

Wish I bought more '18 Crane…

In any case, I think the fact that they don’t sell out on initial release is probably a pretty good indicator that they’re probably making lots of money. Anything that sells out too fast is underpriced. Even though there’s only one yearly harvest, people buy wine 12 months a year … if you don’t have any to sell them, they’re going to look elsewhere.

I’d imagine this will change pretty fast now that they are getting multiple 100 pts. I hate to say it, but the point chasers didn’t know about it; now they will.

I’ve tried to buy various specific Bevan bottlings over the years that were sold out. Done several tastings with them and enjoy his wines. Saunders is a vineyard that tends to sell out quickly. Maybe tench as well?

100 points for Bevan is not new.

^^ This

If I recall correctly, Bevan was one of the few to get a 100 in the much maligned 2011 vintage for Tin Box. Bevan’s had 6 other 100 pointers from WA since then and a couple of more from the likes of JD and IWR.

In almost every vintage there are wines that sell out quicker than others. The 100 pointers obviously go first (point chasers?), but in past years wines like Harbison, Calixtro and Tin Box have all gone quickly and are seemingly harder to get (personal experience!), obviously a combination of production levels and demand. Frankly, should we be having this conversation— it only heightens interest—increasing demand— [scratch.gif]

Maybe there are other factors— paging Russell Bevan. Perhaps he will chime in with an explanation for us!

Hopefully Russell will join in here to add some insight - and color. The man is certainly remarkable - and unforgettable. Truly ‘bigger than life’.

I’m sure pricing has something to do with it for sure - his wines are certainly ‘not cheap’, but they are also not outrageous compared to others up in Napa with less of a track record than he has. It could be a stylistic thing as well - he is an unabashed fan of new oak, and if that does not float your boat, you may not be as much of a fan.

Pretty amazing what an ‘empire’ he has built in a relatively short time, including all of his consulting gigs . . .

Cheers.

I raised this question on a Realm thread and got a few responses. The prevalent thought was that Bevan is not as well known as Realm or other high end Napa cabs. If Bevan’s production is 8000 cases (as mentioned here), I’m sure that’s higher that Realm and most high end producers and speaks to greater availability. But $195 for SV cabs, like Dr. Crane, is a bargain. People used to praise Schrader for staying below $200. They aren’t there any more. If there is a better QPR for Napa cabs that routinely get scores in the high 90’s and sometimes 100, I 'd like to hear about it. And you can can actually buy Bevan wines.

They are not cheap wines. Not everyone can afford them.

$195 is not a lot of money in the landscape of Napa given the amazing vineyards he sources from, and the fact that he is VERY involved in the farming means a ton too. Houyi for $195? Yes please! Tench for $195? Of course!

Regardless of Russell’s total production, it’s certain wines (Dr. Crane among them) that people really want that he makes tiny quantities of (anywhere from 100-200 cases). I’m sure the bulk of the production is Ontogeny and Sauvignon Blanc, both are of which are arguably the 2 greatest values being made in California for their respective categories.

Where or not he’s as well known as Realm really isn’t a measuring stick here. It’s whether you can convince Dominus and Insignia fans to stop over paying, and buy Bevan.

In a vacuum, sure. But relative to most wines in it’s class, they are extremely fairly priced.

Hopefully Russell will join in here to add some insight - and color. The man is certainly remarkable - and unforgettable. Truly ‘bigger than life’.

I’m sure pricing has something to do with it for sure - his wines are certainly ‘not cheap’, but they are also not outrageous compared to others up in Napa with less of a track record than he has. It could be a stylistic thing as well - he is an unabashed fan of new oak, and if that does not float your boat, you may not be as much of a fan.

Pretty amazing what an ‘empire’ he has built in a relatively short time, including all of his consulting gigs . . .

Cheers.

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Cheap is a relative term in Napa vs. other locations, and frankly within the higher end Napa market in general. I don’t want to stir up the beehive on price inflation, but let’s keep in mind Bevan’s pricing. When was the last time Bevan jacked up pricing — versus Realm (for example) and damned near everyone else? As best as I can tell it’s been $195 for the SVDs and BDX blends since 2012 (maybe 2013?). Cheap? Nope. But a bargain for what’s in the bottle relative to peer level competition? Yep.

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