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On the Vine

Random Musing Regarding the Wine Business (and other topics)

April 2009

"Allocated Cult Wines"

I always get asked if certain allocated "cult" wines are worth the money.  My stock response was always depends on what your definition of value actually is in terms of wines.  For some, $200 to as high as $750 for a bottle on release is definitely worth it and others find these sums ridiculous.  I have been fortunate enough to try many of these highly sought after and still remain on some of the hard to get on mailing lists.  However, the reality of the new economic environment makes some of these prices seem even more adsurd.  The advent of wine auction sites and on line retailers has made many of these previously untouchable wines available and at much better prices than the current release price.  Call it the free market at work, but it is actually pretty easy to get an older vintage of a California cult wine or even a first growth Bordeaux at a significantly lower price than on release.  This is a really important point when you consider that most of these wines really can't be enjoyed and truly appreciated until years, sometimes decade after release.

Now, I am sure that this is likely a temporary situation while discretionary spending is no where to be found and the US and world economy is in the tank, but the easy and more economic thing to do is shop for hard to get, allocated wines on the second hand market.  You are likely to get a better deal on a wine that you can enjoy sooner.  If you are worried about getting booted off the mailing list that it took five years and your first born to get on, don't worry too much, there is likely to be plenty of space in the next few years.



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