It’s not that you can’t see the value in a good bottle of wine, but can you really see the $2500 value in a good bottle of wine? Maybe the value is easier to see if there are gold flecks in the wine, and you can filter out the gold when you’re done with the bottle and take it to the gold trader and cash in for $2000. Joking, but really? Some even consider $2,500 on the modest side do not even get me started on those absurdly expensive bottles.
Don’t listen to your friends either, the ones that shout at you, “it’s worth it buy it!” Consider before you buy it who’s reaching for their wallet at that time. Now I don’t say all this to be blunt and reveal my Froogle ways, but more importantly to discover what are the factors which validate the worth to pay for an expensive bottle of wine?
Factor 1: Region
Before anything else, the region where the wine was produced is the greatest dictator of price. Although many Americans will assume that foreign wines are more expensive due to importing costs and distribution mark ups, this isn’t always the reason. Grapes that are grown in foreign countries are usually restricted to confined spaces where grape growers have found a profitable acreage to grow on. For example, some of the most famous regions in France have narrowed down hundreds of acreage to only 20 profitable acres where grapes can be grown. This reduction in acreage is due to many factors such as the changes in climate, the standard of grapes, the laws of growing, and the shift towards organic crops.
The region rules can also play a factor in the price of the bottle due to supply and demand. Many territories have laws which restrict the amount of grapes which can be grown per acre. If this was to affect Chardonnay grapes then the cost would rise, causing winemakers who purchase grapes from regions to have to increase their prices as a result of more costly ingredients.
Factor 2: Process
By process I don’t mean the type of bottle they picked out, or the designing time that went into the label. Importantly what extremities does the winemaker go to in order to bring out the most robust flavors in the end product? There are cheap ways and quality ways of doing everything. Just like there are cheap bottles of wine and quality bottles of wine. We are going to look at a couple factors, the aging and flavor process.
What is the aging process? Just like any fruit if you store it in warm weather it will ripen “age” faster compared to a cooler temperature. A cheap wine will be aged faster at a higher temperature, often resulting in a less complex, less flavorful wine. A more expensive wine should be aged at a lower temperature slowly allowing the grapes to ferment. The process of aging will determine the price, if grapes are aged faster there is less storage needed to invest in because the wine production process is swift. Whereas if the aging process is lengthy, more barrels are required to store the wine before it can be moved to the bottling process.
What is the flavor process? There are many flavors which can be added to a wine. For the sake of understanding I will go over the common process of oak flavors. The added flavor of oak is drawn out through allowing the grapes to ferment in oak barrels. The best oak barrels can range in price from $600-$2000 for an individual barrel. If the winemaker invests in all these barrels and provides a quality fermenting can the price of the bottle is usually higher. If the winemaker doesn’t invest in barrels they will often opt to merely throw in a few wood chips for flavoring, the final product will be cheaper with a less robust taste.
Factor 3: Marketing
With all the wine labels out there, you may be known by your local industry really well but when you are a new label fighting against the 100+ year old label you have to put some money into shouting your name. Although this is not always true, I have tried a lot of poor bottles of wine that I have never heard of because of their marketing. Yes, it got me to pick up their bottle of wine at an above average price, but they failed to make a repeat customer out of me with their lack of quality and price point.
This being said, I always stand by the rule of if I see it on TV, pass it on a poster board, then I generally don’t pick up the bottle in store unless it’s at a price worth the risk of trying. If you hear a recommendation from a friend (usually their experience on a wine tour) and the price is a bit high, it’s usually worth the cost.
Now that you understand the three most dictating factors which go into an expensive bottle of wine, I leave it up to you decide whether or not it is an avenue you would like to invest in. To this day, I still don’t think I can justify purchasing a bottle even at $1500. That’s $2 per milliliter, which is a bit beyond my affection for a beverage no matter how exquisite it may be.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1110996
The author of this article is Alisa Carscaden. I am a born traveler, a wine enthusiast, and a closet foodie. If you enjoyed my article please follow on Twitter @Liquormart. If you are looking for a quality bottle of wine go to www.liquormart.com my favorite place to buy discount wine online.