I heard something astonishing today. It actually made my stomach ache. A well known Napa winery has released a $250 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. No, I did not add an extra digit to that by accident. Apparently, it actually sells for $250 a bottle.
As a leading Sauvignon Blanc producer with 41 vintages under our belt, it's hard for me not to absolutely grimace with jealousy. Sure, I'd love to command a price like that. Just think of all the cool gizmos we could buy for the winery and the massive infusion of revenue such prices would generate for us!
But really, who in their right mind would have the gumption to actually do it? Especially in today's economy.
I admire winery owners who just put their foot down and raise prices to their heart's content. I remember about 15 years ago when the then owner of Chalk Hill Winery decided to raise their bottle prices by a hefty $20-$30 per bottle. He did so because he felt the wines were worth it and he was tired of being positioned in one price category when his beloved bottlings warranted another (in his mind's eye).
I too feel that way. Repeated blind tastings and competitive analysis support my theories. But I simply don't have the nerve or the financial where with all to go through with it. If sales stall, what will we do? Tap into my oil well money? Tap into my trust fund account?
So I guess we'll just keep making super delicious wines that express the nuances of our region. We'll continue to send samples to wine critics in hopes of positive reviews and high scores. And, we will slowly take a price increase or two when grape costs go up, barrels become even more costly, or the winery needs a new roof. We may never be in the same league as "Chateau La-Di-Da", but that's ok. I'm not sure I could live with myself.