Understand Pricing Pressures
When you go into a wine shop, you'll find a wide range of prices. In the United States, that range is from about $4 a bottle to more than $30 a bottle. What makes one 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon worth twice the price of another?
- The grapes: All grapes are not created equal. Some vineyards produce better grapes than others, and wineries pay premium prices for those lots.
As a general rule, wine that is made of juice from an ideal vineyard is more expensive than wine that is blended from the juice of many lesser quality vineyards.
- The method: Some methods of making wine are more costly than others. Storing wine in wooden barrels, for instance, is more expensive than storing it in stainless steel vats. If the winemaker wants the wine to taste a certain way, certain methods must be used, and those methods often increase the cost of making the wine.
- The final product: When a wine is ready to be bottled (and often before that), the winemaker will evaluate the wine. Each wine is judged by its characteristics, including color, aroma, acidity, and overall complexity (what a great catch phrase).
A wine that has superior characteristics will cost more than a wine that does not. A wine that is set aside for additional aging before release will command a higher price than one that has been released early.
- Availability: If a wine is made from small lots of very good grapes, there won't be a lot of it. Similarly, if a winery has an excellent reputation, a lot of wine stores will want to carry that wine. Supply and demand means that those bottles will cost more than other bottles.
Never, never underestimate supply and demand.
The basic guideline is white wine with white meats, reds with reds. Remember, this is a guideline, not a rule. What tastes right is right!
| Before You Begin: Ah, Sweet Nectar of Zeus! | Step One: Know Your Wine Regions | Step Two: Know Your Grape Types | Step Three: Understand Vintages And Aging | Step Five: Know Your Needs! |
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