WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Randy Buckner » Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:07 am

Is "decent" somewhat faint praise, or are you indulging in understatement?


Decent is a wine that I can sit down with and drink a glass or three without regret, but I may not be cellaring them away -- you know the type.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:29 pm

Nice article Bucko! One would never know you are an Okie when you write like that, plus you know Stone Wolf wines. We have the same high opinion of Linda's wines especially the PN and PG. I like her 2005 chardonnay enough to get hold of a half case of that too.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Joe Sage » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:54 am

Keith M wrote:I was wondering, however, if you could clarify why earlier wine releases indicate that prices haven't kept up with demand. Certainly, I understand why producers would want to release their wines earlier (reducing the amount of time between their initial capital outlays and the recouping of their costs when they sell their final product in effect increases their income). But why do such earlier releases necessarily signal that demand has increased more than prices have?

Hi Keith,
First, winemakers try to release wines when they are showing well -- if you release a wine before it is at least showing its potential, it’ll be tough to get top dollar. And unless your customer base is accustomed to laying the bottle down, you can injure your reputation if it is too young. At the same time, a winery tries to avoid selling out of a vintage too long before the release of the next vintage, as this can lead to loss of shelf space and restaurant bins to competitors. And consumers who normally might look for your wine might discover alternatives!
When demand increases you can raise prices to pace sales, but this is near impossible in the middle of a vintage, and a jump of more than 20 percent can mean you need to find a whole new customer base. (Many wineries did raise prices about 10 – 15 percent on their recent releases.) Another option is allocating - which can be a good strategy for positioning up market (e.g., you can favor certain distributors or channels). Some wineries use allocation as a lever to encourage purchase of slower selling varietals. Obviously, allocation can alienate some distributors. Of course there is a long lag between contracting for fruit (or planting new vines) and release of a wine, so it is difficult to just increase production to meet a spike in demand.
There are several Oregon wineries that already have released some of their 2006 pinot noirs after they sold out of 2005 and 2004. If you look at the websites you will see that release dates have moved up -- check out, e.g., Penner-Ash, which I am choosing just because it is an easy to navigate website that includes release dates for past vintages. For the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, the release for the 2002 vintage was June 2004, release for the 2003 was June 2005. Then release for the 2004 was April 2006 and release of the 2005 vintage was November 2006. Penner-Ash is a hot label that has always sold out quickly. They should probably charge more -- what will they do this summer when they run out of wine?
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Tony Lewis » Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:21 am

As far as comparing prices between a Burgundy Pinot and one from the US, it should not be overlooked that between 2005 and March 2007 the US Dollar lost close to 30% against the Euro, and then in the last 3 months alone has lost an additional 20% (n.b. that doesn't make 50%). With that in mind, the Oregon Pinots are far more expensive than their authentic French models, even if it seems there is parity on the shelf.

With the US policy of devalutating its currency (an old trick to make it appear that things are going swimmingly), coupled with the world's perception of an imploding US economy, this situation will most probably only get worse, and it's only a matter of time until wines from countries such as Argentina and Australia become much more pricey. Sadly, the dollar's dive is not only against the Euro, but pretty much across the board.

This is great news for US producers, who can continue to raise prices and still stay competetive.

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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:22 am

Hello Joe, and WELCOME to the WLDG. I see that you are a pinot noir grower. Being an expert in your field (pun unintended) you become a valuable addition to the group. The growing of pinot is well known to be more difficult than many other varieties, and perhaps that is why I drink less pinot than other wines, even though pinot was an early love for me. I wonder though if growers such as yourself are not becoming better and better in growing quality fruit which translates to better wine. Again welcome to the group, IMO we need people like you here.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:35 am

Hi Tony, a big WLDG WELCOME to you too. What you say about the strength of the American dollar is all too true, and I suspect it will be a long time coming back against (not only) against the Euro but against most of the world's currencies. At the rate the US government is spending money in other countries, I don't know if we will ever again be the benchmark we once were. But, I may just be "Chicken Little" in disguise. I will look around for some of your music. Jazz is IMO special music, so I need to hear yours.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Keith M » Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:36 am

Joe Sage wrote:a winery tries to avoid selling out of a vintage too long before the release of the next vintage, as this can lead to loss of shelf space and restaurant bins to competitors. [snip] There are several Oregon wineries that already have released some of their 2006 pinot noirs after they sold out of 2005 and 2004. If you look at the websites you will see that release dates have moved up


Ahhh, I see . . . vintages are gobbled up by consumers a bit too quickly, eh? Very interesting. Thanks, Joe, for the excellent explanation. And again, welcome!
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Tony Lewis » Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:26 am

Hello Bob,

And many thanks for the welcome to this (my first) discussion forum.

I apologize if I was out of line in bringing in my macro economic theorem, while the subject is, and should rightly stay, wine.

Best to you all, and I look forward to enlightenment, or at least to the exchange of interesting ideas and experiences.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:18 pm

Tony, you offered cogent thoughts and information, and IMO that kind of thing is never "out of line" I think you brought up points that many of us have not thought of , and that is that the inexpensive but good wines from South America will be going up in price if the dollar is not brought under control against world currencies
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby michael dietrich » Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:42 pm

I am a wine retailer here in Oregon. I have seen the industry grow since the beginning. I still remember when there were 10 wineries. As far as WVV goes, they have definitely improved their quality over the last few vintages. I love to see when that happens. I am always looking for good Pinot under $15 from anywhere. Since there has been such demand recently we see the law of supply and demand rear its ugly head. I now have looked for them under $20. I have found several from NZ that have been impressive for that price. One that we just got was Omaka Springs 2004 Falveys $18 from Marlborough. Another from there is Seven Terraces2005 which is the second label of Foxes Island. From Oregon I just tasted Montinore 2006 WV $18. This winery has been around since 1982. I have never had a wine from them that I would recommend. This 2006 Pinot tastes and smells like Pinot Noir. Another that I have been impressed with is Lange. Here it has sold for $20. There are classics like Evesham Wood and Cameron that have been great values for years but I can no longer get hardly any quantity since they have been discovered. They have worked hard to get there. In Oregon we now have somewhere between 450-500 different brands.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:47 pm

Hi Michael, This has been an interesting thread in more than one way, what with growers and vintners chiming in. Now we have a long time retailer also giving us the benefit of his thinking. Stone Wolf is a favorite of mine, starting with the fact that I am familiar with Linda Lindsay the owner and winemaker from online activity, but also for the quality of the wine(s) she makes. It never fails to amaze me though, that I seldome hear anything form those who live in the PACNW about them. I hope this will entice you to try her wines and especially her PN and PG.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Randy Buckner » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:09 pm

It never fails to amaze me though, that I seldome hear anything form those who live in the PACNW about them.


There's a couple of reasons for that: 1) poor distribution out of the local area, and 2) their web site is woefully out of date.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:16 pm

Hi Randy,

I know nothing about the distribution of Stone Wolf products, and I agree with you about how much out of date the web page is. In fact I have made comment to Linda personally about that so she is also aware of that fact. I am hoping to see improvement there too. I just like the wines, as I know you do too, so I promote (brag on them) them in whatever way I can, even though that could turn around and bite me is the A$$ in the form of increased demand. :-)
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Randy Buckner » Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:41 pm

I just like the wines, as I know you do too, so I promote (brag on them) them in whatever way I can, even though that could turn around and bite me is the A$$ in the form of increased demand.


The cult hounds and snobs don't buy her wines -- they can't be any good because they are too cheap... :roll: :roll: Her wines are what they are, a decent quaff for a fair tariff. They have the Carole Anne seal of approval, which is all that I need to stay out of the dog house.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Paula Sindberg » Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:32 am

Oregon Pinot for Burgundy prices? Fair? That depends. If your Oregon Pinot is of comparable quality, then why not?

I have to admit that I've only had that "transendental" pinot (a trip to the moon on gossamer wings) from Burgundy but that doesn't mean that other locations can't make them, just that I haven't had them ... yet.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby michael dietrich » Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:43 am

I have carried both Stone Wolf wines for several years.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:55 pm

Hi Paula, and welcome to the WLDG. I probably would agree with you in that the best pinot is Burg, but I have to think that for the money, the Oregon wines can do quite a lot for me. Not many there command the price of mid level burgundy. I do so hate to pay near three digits and get a mediocre wine, and without knowing Burgundy very well, one can do a lot of that.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby David M. Bueker » Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:43 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:I do so hate to pay near three digits and get a mediocre wine, and without knowing Burgundy very well, one can do a lot of that.


There's so much good Burgundy for way less than $100. (Chevillon Bourgogne for $19.99 springs to mind) Granted there's also a lot of good Oregon Pinot at reasonable prices (St. Innocent anyone?!), but there's also some Oregon Pinots that have gone up quite a lot in price.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Thu Jul 19, 2007 5:39 pm

David, I will be the first to admit that my access to decent burgundy is very very limited. IIRC, there are two generic bourgogne in the entire BAWS. I have tried them both and have decide that I can do better from California, and even from Chile. These two do not include the ubiquitous Jadot wine which I admit is a decent drop for about $15. Perhaps before this thread drops off the table I should make a list of burgundies available to me and their prices.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Russell Mann » Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:11 pm

My name is Russell Mann and this is my first post. My wife and I own a retail fine wine & beer shop in north Idaho, called Enoteca. One of the first trade tasting events we attended was a Drouhin event sporting French and Oregon Pinot’s. Another soon after was Cristom, another Oregon Pinot producer. Both of the Oregon producers, although they’re very expensive wines, came across to my wimpy palate as bland and pointless. The French Burgundies however, wow! Here’s the rundown on under $20 pinot’s that I’m willing to carry: Okanogan Pinot Noir – from Oroville Washington – makes a good Burgundy style pinot right on the border with Canada. Montpellier Pinot Noir from California is cheap and varietally correct, as does Mark West. I recently enjoyed the Cono Sur Pinot from Chile, but very few of my Idaho customers liked it. Very earthy, minerally, and French. For a good tasting Pinot at any price, try Belle Glos Clarke and Telephone, or J. Jacaman from Russian River Valley.

By the way, we sell a fair amount of Oregon Pinot’s including: Willamette Valley Vineyards, Amity, Adelsheim, Rex Hill, Eyrie, and La Dolce Vita. I recommend the La Dolce Vita.

On the other hand, the Sideways “anti-Merlot” sentiment is a result of ignorance. I was ignorant as well, until having a conversation with a well-known Pinot Noir producer in California, who besides seeing the movie also read the book. Apparently in the book, the 61 Cheval Blanc was actually a Petrus, which is of course 95-100% Merlot in any given year. The Cheval Blanc is Cab Franc + Merlot, so the movie had to put in a dig against Cab Franc. The reason for all of the anti Merlot and Cab Franc talk is the aged bottle represented his past relationship with his ex-wife, and he didn’t want to drink to that representation with a “new woman.” It has nothing to do with Merlot.

If anyone is ever up in north Idaho, stop by, maybe I can sell you some wine ;)
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Henrick » Thu Aug 02, 2007 4:43 pm

Welcome to the group here Russell. I believe you must be the first Idahoan from the panhandle to grace our pages. I have a nephew who lives somewhere up your way, but not sure exactly where. His wife is from a place called St. Maries and I have a friend here in Lexington, Kentucky who is also from St. Maries. small world I suppose.
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby ClarkDGigHbr » Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:41 pm

Russell Mann wrote:My name is Russell Mann and this is my first post. ...

On the other hand, the Sideways “anti-Merlot” sentiment is a result of ignorance. I was ignorant as well, until having a conversation with a well-known Pinot Noir producer in California, who besides seeing the movie also read the book. Apparently in the book, the 61 Cheval Blanc was actually a Petrus, which is of course 95-100% Merlot in any given year. The Cheval Blanc is Cab Franc + Merlot, so the movie had to put in a dig against Cab Franc. The reason for all of the anti Merlot and Cab Franc talk is the aged bottle represented his past relationship with his ex-wife, and he didn’t want to drink to that representation with a “new woman.” It has nothing to do with Merlot.


Welcome, Russell.

I will admit upfront that I was never very adept at understanding literary symbolism, so I will not even try to dispute your interpretation of the anti-Merlot sentiment in Sideways. I would like to point out the very obvious, however (something I am actually pretty good at :wink: ) ... there is a huge difference between Merlot from Cheval Blanc or Petrus, and the ubiquitous uninspiring domestic Merlot, which is pretty easy to hate. Since Sideways did not mention this, I will keep your explanation in mind, when/if I am asked to explain this in the future.

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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Russell Mann » Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:35 am

Dear Clark,

Thanks for the welcome.

The explanation works for me because I'm in the business and selling Merlot is just as good as selling Pinot Noir to me. :)

But you do make a good point - there are a lot of domestic merlots that basically suck. There are a lot of domestic pinot's, cabs, chards, and zins that suck too. So far I haven't met a Merlot hater who has tasted a good example of a Merlot, like Twomey for example.

Thanks for the welcome Bob,

St. Maries is a small timber town about an hour south. We competed against them in high school, and usually we won :) I wasn't much of an athlete though, more of a mathlete, but we won at that too. My wife and I met Garrison Keillor once in St. Paul and he mentioned spending time as a youth in St. Maries. How's that for random information?

Have there been Idahoans from the south part of the state around here?
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Re: WTN /WineAdvisor: Pinot Inflation (Willamette Vly Vyds 05)

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:55 am

Welcome, now we need to find someone from Montana!!! I am up here in Alberta and they all know me as Doris!!
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