You should know a difference between a $30 and a $100 dollar bottle of wine

This is defiantly not a simple “yes” or “no” answer since the preference of one wine over another is subjective to each individual. Of course the level of knowledge an individual may have regarding wine certainly makes a difference. Those who know a thing or two about wine will be more particular about what they are drinking and better at detecting the nuances of the different styles and qualities of wine. There are a few tricks of the trade when producing inexpensive (typically below the $20 range) wines to mask imperfections such as adding grape juice that has not fermented to sweeten the batch or to dollop a little acidity to balance too much sugar that a wine novice probably wouldn’t notice.

At first one might be inclined to say “yes, you should be able to tell the difference between the two because of the price difference” and in most cases you will. However the truth is that you could just as easily tell the difference between two $30 bottles as you could if you were comparing two costing $100. What you should notice though is that as the price of a bottle of wine goes up so does the characteristics, depth and complexity along with its age ability. On the flip side if not cellared properly and/or opened too soon that same $100 bottle of wine will not taste as good as the price increase warrants. 

So the underlying question may really be “is this bottle of wine that cost $100 as much of a value ….to ME as the one I paid only $30 for?” This is where you must rely on your own taste and preference. If you really enjoyed that $100 bottle wine then it was a value regardless of the price. Likewise if that bottle of wine (with a well known label) is not a wine you enjoyed then you might think that the extra expense didn’t represent the expected value – on the other hand someone else may really enjoy that same wine and think there is a huge gap between wines that cost $30 and those costing $100 or more.

Variables that contribute to the cost of wine
  • Brand
  • Cost of land
  • Region\terror
  • Example: Franics ford Coppola paid approx $350K an acre for vineyard land in the 70” the average cost per acre in Napa was $5k
  • Older grapes produce wines with more depth and complexity
  • Management of the grapes ie: are the hand picked and pruned back producing high quality but less yields to make wine with
  • Types / quality of grapes planted
  • Level of expertise of the winemaker
  • Demand!
  • Vintage
Wine for Thought:
Checking out “secondary labels” produced by well known wineries is a great way to purchase a higher quality bottle of wine for less money. Wines that may not be considered “good enough” to be bottled under a winery’s primary label are bottled under a secondary label. A couple examples of these secondary labels are Decoy by Duckhorn Vineyards and Liberty School by Caymus Vineyards

Grape Growing and Wine Making Tips:


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