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There was a time when I posed the question “Why are Colorado wines so expensive?”
If your favorite entry level Napa Cab cost $18 in a wine shop, a Colorado Cab grown with very similar production guidelines, could cost as much as $25 per bottle. In my opinion, the cost of the bottle should reflect the quality of the juice. If an $18 bottle of Napa Cab taste better than a $25 bottle of Colorado Cab, which would you choose?
This was the answer I received:
Wine starts with a bunch of grapes. Those grapes grow over a season, and when they have reached the desired ripeness they are picked. After being picked they are transported from the vineyard to a winery where they are crushed. The next step varies depending on what style of wine is being made, but what’s important is that trip to the winery. In California, a huge number of vineyards have their own winery, so the trip from vineyard to winery is very short. After what needs to be done in the winery (the mystery that I can uncover on a different day) the wine needs to be bottled. Many California wineries have bottling facilities within the winery. Those that don’t either have a portable bottling service bottle for them, or they transport their juice to another nearby winery. Since the wine regions of California are vast and saturated, the closest bottling facility may just be a few miles away. From the bottling facility, the wine is sealed in cases and then travels back to the winery. At this point, the wine is ready to be sold.
The shorter the distance that the grapes, and the juice have to travel, the lower the cost to produce the wine. As gas prices continue to rise, you could understand how every mile counts. Colorado, as well as the other lesser wine producing states, do not have the luxury of proximity when it comes to necessary facilities. *If there are fifty vineyards in the Grand Junction area, ten of them may have a winery, and one may have the ability to bottle at the winery. If it costs $.50/ bottle to bottle at your own facility, it costs $1.00 to bottle at someone else’s. It may cost $2.00 to have a bottling service bottle for you. Who pays this additional cost? I do, and then, unfortunately, you do.
I love the idea of supporting Colorado wine, and I have tried in the past, but when the added expense is passed off to the guests, the wine just doesn’t sell like any of the main growing regions of the world.
Two Kias are sitting in a lot, one is the price of a Kia, and one is the price of a Lexus. Which do you buy?
*I don’t know these numbers. I used approximate guesses to further explain my point. If I am wrong, please tell me, I’m very interested to learn.
View my restaurants’ wine lists:
Also coming soon:
Wine Event at Nosh – March 17, 6PM – 8PM – Wince Cru Spanish and Portuguese Wine Tasting
My name is Joe Conrad. I am the wine buyer for two restaurants in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Nosh and The Blue Star are where I spend the majority of my nine to five work days. Nosh has a small, eclectic, New World focused wine list with about sixty bottle choices ranging from $30 to $110. The Blue Star has a wine novel that consists of over 700 wines with strong focus on California and vintage Port. The Blue Star’s wine bottles range from $30 to $2000+. The majority of my work time goes to the maintaining and maintenance of this behemoth of a list. This maintenance involves many paper cuts, many disputes with the printer, and copious amounts of wine tasting. On an average week, I taste and spit more wine than most wine drinkers consume in a year!
A few weeks ago, I took my level one sommelier exam. The drive to Denver for two consecutive days at 6:30AM was the hard part. Passing the test wasn’t that bad. I would suggest that anyone with an interest in wine and $500 burning a hole in their pocket, take it. It’s a fun course. The only reason I mention that is to give myself just a touch of credibility. If I wrote a blog about proper storage of bio-hazardous methadone clinical syringes, I would hope someone would ask for a little proof of certification. Of course, this is just about wine. If I don’t know all of the facts, no one gets hurt.
Truth is: I’m not a wine scholar. I don’t want to be a Master Sommelier. To say that I am, or always have been passionate about wine, would be a lie. I enjoy writing more than I enjoy drinking wine. I do, however, love what I do. I love my job, and I find passion in being the best that I can be in whatever task I’m taking on. I happen to be the wine buyer for a restaurant that has tremendous pride in their wine list. Therefore, my passion is in wine.
Who am I? Just a guy that drinks a lot of wine, and loves to write!
View my restaurants’ wine lists: