NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

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NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#1 Post by KyleC » October 22nd, 2020, 11:30 am

Asimov's latest column: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/22/dini ... rices.html

How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines: Benchmark bottles were always a splurge. But an increasing concentration of wealth has put them out of reach for all but the richest connoisseurs.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#2 Post by Sean S y d n e y » October 22nd, 2020, 11:44 am

I feel this, hard. Unfortunately, millennials like me have to either bankrupt ourselves to not only get the coveted bottles but just a wide-reaching classical wine education that previous generations had access to.

That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#3 Post by Hank Victor » October 22nd, 2020, 12:07 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 11:44 am
I feel this, hard. Unfortunately, millennials like me have to either bankrupt ourselves to not only get the coveted bottles but just a wide-reaching classical wine education that previous generations had access to.

That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
Ditto.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#4 Post by Tomás Costa » October 22nd, 2020, 12:24 pm

Joke's on the rich folk. They'll never taste wines from Santorini, Friuli, the Loire or the Dão.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#5 Post by GregT » October 22nd, 2020, 12:32 pm

Tomás Costa wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:24 pm
Joke's on the rich folk. They'll never taste wines from Santorini, Friuli, the Loire or the Dão.
Agreed!

Besides, his headline and his facts contradict each other.

There is no new land in Bordeaux. So the land and vineyard output hasn't expanded.

But the customer base has.

In the past there weren't Russian oligarchs, Chinese princelings, or athletes worth hundreds of millions, or even billions. And the celebrities of Hollywood and elsewhere weren't their own billion-dollar businesses, with social media followers and product lines of clothing, soaps, toiletries, etc.

These days there are a LOT more rich people around competing for the same chateaux.

And he points out all of that.

But that's not concentration of wealth, it's expansion of wealth.

The reason prices for Burgundy and Bordeaux have risen faster than they have on some other products is simply because more people are competing for the same amount of goods.

In any event, without tasting any of the so-called "benchmarks", you can get a pretty good wine education by tasting some of the other great wines made all over the world.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#6 Post by Jason T » October 22nd, 2020, 12:41 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 11:44 am
I feel this, hard. Unfortunately, millennials like me have to either bankrupt ourselves to not only get the coveted bottles but just a wide-reaching classical wine education that previous generations had access to.

That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
I’m not a millennial (early 40s) and I’ve been fortunate financially. The amount of wine that is still beyond my means is kind of staggering. There is just a lot of wealth out there and unfortunately when it chases the trophies from smaller regions things escalate quickly.

Please don’t take this as a criticism of those who can afford these wines. Not at all. And I know some of this comes down to priorities. But, just wow, there’s a lot of wealth in this world.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#7 Post by c fu » October 22nd, 2020, 12:44 pm

GregT wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:32 pm
Tomás Costa wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:24 pm
Joke's on the rich folk. They'll never taste wines from Santorini, Friuli, the Loire or the Dão.
Agreed!

Besides, his headline and his facts contradict each other.

There is no new land in Bordeaux. So the land and vineyard output hasn't expanded.

But the customer base has.

In the past there weren't Russian oligarchs, Chinese princelings, or athletes worth hundreds of millions, or even billions. And the celebrities of Hollywood and elsewhere weren't their own billion-dollar businesses, with social media followers and product lines of clothing, soaps, toiletries, etc.

These days there are a LOT more rich people around competing for the same chateaux.

And he points out all of that.

But that's not concentration of wealth, it's expansion of wealth.

The reason prices for Burgundy and Bordeaux have risen faster than they have on some other products is simply because more people are competing for the same amount of goods.

In any event, without tasting any of the so-called "benchmarks", you can get a pretty good wine education by tasting some of the other great wines made all over the world.
Expansion of wealth definitely matters, but as you alluded to there's also an expansion of knowledge. Those with money that weren't previously buying wine are now, it's easier to access, wine isn't as mysterious anymore. Lots of different venues to purchase and lots of different people to connect you to the wines you want.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#8 Post by Doug Schulman » October 22nd, 2020, 12:51 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 11:44 am
That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
It sure is! Expand that up to $100-$120 and you've got a huge number of truly great wines.
GregT wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:32 pm
In any event, without tasting any of the so-called "benchmarks", you can get a pretty good wine education by tasting some of the other great wines made all over the world.
Yes, and by trying "lesser" wines from the most famous regions.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#9 Post by HenryB » October 22nd, 2020, 1:02 pm

at the same time, it is worth calling out that quality has probably, on average, massively increased as well. When you sell 50-100m of wine in a vintage, you can afford to massively upgrade your infrastructure and get itt performing a bit more consistently.

There is the counter point, then; more consistent vintages means more higher quality wine supply, which should at least partially counter-balance demand. Whats probably true is that for the very best vintages and chateaus, the people who can afford that sort of thing wont care about spending the extra 50% to go from 2014 to 2015 in Bordeaux, for example.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#10 Post by Chris Seiber » October 22nd, 2020, 1:06 pm

c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:44 pm
GregT wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:32 pm


Besides, his headline and his facts contradict each other.

There is no new land in Bordeaux. So the land and vineyard output hasn't expanded.

But the customer base has.

In the past there weren't Russian oligarchs, Chinese princelings, or athletes worth hundreds of millions, or even billions. And the celebrities of Hollywood and elsewhere weren't their own billion-dollar businesses, with social media followers and product lines of clothing, soaps, toiletries, etc.

These days there are a LOT more rich people around competing for the same chateaux.

And he points out all of that.

But that's not concentration of wealth, it's expansion of wealth.

The reason prices for Burgundy and Bordeaux have risen faster than they have on some other products is simply because more people are competing for the same amount of goods.

In any event, without tasting any of the so-called "benchmarks", you can get a pretty good wine education by tasting some of the other great wines made all over the world.
Expansion of wealth definitely matters, but as you alluded to there's also an expansion of knowledge. Those with money that weren't previously buying wine are now, it's easier to access, wine isn't as mysterious anymore. Lots of different venues to purchase and lots of different people to connect you to the wines you want.
Great points by both of you.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#11 Post by Howard Cooper » October 22nd, 2020, 1:08 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 11:44 am
I feel this, hard. Unfortunately, millennials like me have to either bankrupt ourselves to not only get the coveted bottles but just a wide-reaching classical wine education that previous generations had access to.

That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
This is absolute utter nonsense.

In 1983, I could buy futures for 1982 LLC, Ducru, Cos d'Estournal, etc. for $10-15 a bottle and DRC 1980 Grands Echezeaux for $35. [If I remember correctly, prices for 1982 futures for first growths were about $35 a bottle.]

In the mid to late 1980s, I bought 1984 Ridge Montebello for $20 a bottle and 1985 Chateau Montelena Cabernet for around the same.

As late as 1991, I bought 1990 Bordeaux futures of Leoville Barton for $20 a bottle and of LLC for about $30 a bottle.

Probably through 2010 or so I could buy premier cru Burgundies from top villages for $50 or less. For example, in 2006, these were the prices I paid for Jacky Truchot 2003s:

03 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru " $ 30.00
03 Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru les Blanchards $ 31.25
03 Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru Clos Sorbes $ 31.25
03 Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru " $ 31.25
03 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru $ 51.04
03 Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru $ 51.04

What are the great wines for $20-50 that I can buy today that are better than these?
Last edited by Howard Cooper on October 22nd, 2020, 1:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#12 Post by R Scott Hughes » October 22nd, 2020, 1:11 pm

c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:44 pm
Expansion of wealth definitely matters, but as you alluded to there's also an expansion of knowledge. Those with money that weren't previously buying wine are now, it's easier to access, wine isn't as mysterious anymore. Lots of different venues to purchase and lots of different people to connect you to the wines you want.
If it were truly being driven by an expansion of knowledge, along with the increase in wealth, then we would see prices being pushed up outside of the most famous regions. For a majority of new rich, these famous regions and famous wines are just trophies to be collected just like a Patek watch or Hermes bag. And that, to me, is the most disappointing part of this trend.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#13 Post by John Glas » October 22nd, 2020, 1:13 pm

That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
I am now at this spending price point. I have had many $100 plus wines and while I enjoy them I would rather spend my money on golf and other things I enjoy.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#14 Post by Chris Crutchfield » October 22nd, 2020, 1:16 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:08 pm
This is absolute utter nonsense.

In 1983, I could buy futures for 1982 LLC, Ducru, Cos d'Estournal, etc. for $10-15 a bottle and DRC 1980 Grands Echezeaux for $35. [If I remember correctly, prices for 1982 futures for first growths were about $35 a bottle.]

In the mid to late 1980s, I bought 1984 Ridge Montebello for $20 a bottle and 1985 Chateau Montelena Cabernet for around the same.

As late as 1991, I bought 1990 Bordeaux futures of Leoville Barton for $20 a bottle and of LLC for about $30 a bottle.

Probably through 2010 or so I could buy premier cru Burgundies from top villages for $50 or less.

What are the great wines for $20-50 that I can buy today that are better than these?
To be fair, multiply your prices by about 2-3 to adjust for inflation.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#15 Post by Sean S y d n e y » October 22nd, 2020, 1:17 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:08 pm
Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 11:44 am
I feel this, hard. Unfortunately, millennials like me have to either bankrupt ourselves to not only get the coveted bottles but just a wide-reaching classical wine education that previous generations had access to.

That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
This is absolute utter nonsense.

In 1983, I could buy futures for 1982 LLC, Ducru, Cos d'Estournal, etc. for $10-15 a bottle and DRC 1980 Grands Echezeaux for $35. [If I remember correctly, prices for 1982 futures for first growths were about $35 a bottle.]

In the mid to late 1980s, I bought 1984 Ridge Montebello for $20 a bottle and 1985 Chateau Montelena Cabernet for around the same.

As late as 1991, I bought 1990 Bordeaux futures of Leoville Barton for $20 a bottle and of LLC for about $30 a bottle.

Probably through 2010 or so I could buy premier cru Burgundies from top villages for $50 or less.

What are the great wines for $20-50 that I can buy today that are better than these?
Inflation exists, you know!

Plus, I'm talking about non-Bordeaux/Burgundy edition. Those wines are long gone. What I really mean is that you can find incredibly made, world-class, extremely diverse wines in the world NOT from these regions for $20-50 - and often less.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#16 Post by Howard Cooper » October 22nd, 2020, 1:19 pm

Chris Crutchfield wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:16 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:08 pm
This is absolute utter nonsense.

In 1983, I could buy futures for 1982 LLC, Ducru, Cos d'Estournal, etc. for $10-15 a bottle and DRC 1980 Grands Echezeaux for $35. [If I remember correctly, prices for 1982 futures for first growths were about $35 a bottle.]

In the mid to late 1980s, I bought 1984 Ridge Montebello for $20 a bottle and 1985 Chateau Montelena Cabernet for around the same.

As late as 1991, I bought 1990 Bordeaux futures of Leoville Barton for $20 a bottle and of LLC for about $30 a bottle.

Probably through 2010 or so I could buy premier cru Burgundies from top villages for $50 or less.

What are the great wines for $20-50 that I can buy today that are better than these?
To be fair, multiply your prices by about 2-3 to adjust for inflation.

Fine. Double every price I listed and my point is still valid.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#17 Post by Josh Grossman » October 22nd, 2020, 1:24 pm

Our honorable Mark Golodetz already wrote this article with more brevity:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=149984

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#18 Post by Howard Cooper » October 22nd, 2020, 1:28 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:17 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:08 pm
Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 11:44 am
I feel this, hard. Unfortunately, millennials like me have to either bankrupt ourselves to not only get the coveted bottles but just a wide-reaching classical wine education that previous generations had access to.

That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
This is absolute utter nonsense.

In 1983, I could buy futures for 1982 LLC, Ducru, Cos d'Estournal, etc. for $10-15 a bottle and DRC 1980 Grands Echezeaux for $35. [If I remember correctly, prices for 1982 futures for first growths were about $35 a bottle.]

In the mid to late 1980s, I bought 1984 Ridge Montebello for $20 a bottle and 1985 Chateau Montelena Cabernet for around the same.

As late as 1991, I bought 1990 Bordeaux futures of Leoville Barton for $20 a bottle and of LLC for about $30 a bottle.

Probably through 2010 or so I could buy premier cru Burgundies from top villages for $50 or less.

What are the great wines for $20-50 that I can buy today that are better than these?
Inflation exists, you know!

Plus, I'm talking about non-Bordeaux/Burgundy edition. Those wines are long gone. What I really mean is that you can find incredibly made, world-class, extremely diverse wines in the world NOT from these regions for $20-50 - and often less.
Yes. And those wines could be had for $5-10 in days gone by. For example, I paid $8 a bottle for 1983 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese. Wines like Tempier, Chateau Pradeaux, Huet, etc., etc., etc., have been great for a very long time. Name your very top Barolo producers - Conterno, Rinaldi, etc., etc. Those wines were all much less than $50. There were excellent Loire wines that were dirt cheap. Guigal Cote Rotie and Hermitage and Chave Hermitage were way under $50.

You obviously were not buying wine in the 1980s and 1990s.

And, wines were even cheaper in the 70s when 1970 first growths were under $20. Multiply that by even 10 times and they were be a steal compared with prices today.

In every price range, with or without multipliers for inflation, the wines you can get today for a certain price are nowhere near what you could get for that price in the 1980s and 1990s. Certainly, as a result of the much, much higher prices, a lot more wineries make competent wines than did before the 1990s, but wine inflation for top wines has far outstripped inflation in most items. Most younger people today are paying nose-bleed prices for wines that were affordable when my generation was younger. There is no sugar coating what has happened to wine prices.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#19 Post by c fu » October 22nd, 2020, 1:29 pm

R Scott Hughes wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:11 pm
c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:44 pm
Expansion of wealth definitely matters, but as you alluded to there's also an expansion of knowledge. Those with money that weren't previously buying wine are now, it's easier to access, wine isn't as mysterious anymore. Lots of different venues to purchase and lots of different people to connect you to the wines you want.
If it were truly being driven by an expansion of knowledge, along with the increase in wealth, then we would see prices being pushed up outside of the most famous regions. For a majority of new rich, these famous regions and famous wines are just trophies to be collected just like a Patek watch or Hermes bag. And that, to me, is the most disappointing part of this trend.
Disagree - being rich doesn't mean your intentions are different from other wine collectors. You like what you like and you focus on it. Just because people are wealthy means they all have to buy widely from every wine region. Whether you're middle class, upper middle class, upper class you're going to buy the best you can afford typically.

We got plenty of people on this board that only certain regions of wine - let it be new world or old world.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#20 Post by Howard Cooper » October 22nd, 2020, 1:31 pm

Josh Grossman wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:24 pm
Our honorable Mark Golodetz already wrote this article with more brevity:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=149984
Yep. And, as Mark said there, the increase in prices has really accelerated over the last ten years or so.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#21 Post by Alex Valdes » October 22nd, 2020, 1:34 pm

While there are more wealthy people and I’m sure tastes have changed as a function of knowledge, I expect the biggest contributor to the rise in prices is increased efficiency of the wine market. Wineries are price hedgers - their objective is to sell their offer year in and year out. I suspect wineries were selling out in 1990 just like they are today. So why didn’t they increase prices faster? I would guess it’s because they weren’t plugged into as deep a market and didn’t have as much price information. The maturation of the secondary market and the reduction in frictions associated with trade like freight and currency flows make it easier for wineries and distributors to know where the market is and change pricing. So, it might be that these wines were actually cheaper than they should have been for a long time but the market was too dislocated for that to get resolved through regular market forces.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#22 Post by HenryB » October 22nd, 2020, 1:36 pm

the secondary market is clearly a driver here - for recent vintages, if they've gone up, why wouldnt you as a producer minimise the spread between your current vintage and comparable historic ones?
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#23 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » October 22nd, 2020, 1:39 pm

c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:44 pm
GregT wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:32 pm
Tomás Costa wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:24 pm
Joke's on the rich folk. They'll never taste wines from Santorini, Friuli, the Loire or the Dão.
Agreed!

Besides, his headline and his facts contradict each other.

There is no new land in Bordeaux. So the land and vineyard output hasn't expanded.

But the customer base has.

In the past there weren't Russian oligarchs, Chinese princelings, or athletes worth hundreds of millions, or even billions. And the celebrities of Hollywood and elsewhere weren't their own billion-dollar businesses, with social media followers and product lines of clothing, soaps, toiletries, etc.

These days there are a LOT more rich people around competing for the same chateaux.

And he points out all of that.

But that's not concentration of wealth, it's expansion of wealth.

The reason prices for Burgundy and Bordeaux have risen faster than they have on some other products is simply because more people are competing for the same amount of goods.

In any event, without tasting any of the so-called "benchmarks", you can get a pretty good wine education by tasting some of the other great wines made all over the world.
Expansion of wealth definitely matters, but as you alluded to there's also an expansion of knowledge. Those with money that weren't previously buying wine are now, it's easier to access, wine isn't as mysterious anymore. Lots of different venues to purchase and lots of different people to connect you to the wines you want.
Income inequality and expansion of wealth are not contradictory terms. Increased concentration of wealth isn't incompatible with there being more rich people than there used to be, including entire new categories of rich people.

Total global wealth has expanded due to many factors including a lack of any world wars in the last 75 years, lack of any major famine or plague in that time frame (this year notwithstanding), increased free trade, technological advancement/efficiency gains, and on and on. And while the bottom 50% (globally) are no doubt much better off than 75 years ago, within the top 50% globally (or some large percentage - basically corresponding to the developed economies that had strong middle classes in the '50s and '60s), wealth has become more concentrated in the top 1% and the top .1%. But that it still a lot of people, and of course there are way more people in the top 1% than there were in 1950. So expansion of total wealth, more people, more concentration of wealth at the top - all of that gives you a much larger number of super-wealthy people, and a much larger average net worth for each of them, than we used to have, be they old-fangled barons of industry or new-fangled hedge funders, athletes, kleptocrats, tech entrepreneurs, or social media influencers. Then you add the increase in education and interest in wine, globalization of cultures and tastes so that great wine is a topic of interest over a much larger percentage of the globe than it used to be, and you have a higher percentage of the super-wealthy chasing wine. Then you add in the part about how Chambertin isn't getting any bigger, and the rest writes itself. More people with more more money chasing the same amount of wine, and you can do the math.

The interesting thought experiment is to ponder how much of this effect is from wealth concentration/inequality and how much would exist even if all this increased wealth were distributed more evenly. I think there's an argument to be made that the same increase in total global wealth and total global population, chasing the same non-increasing amount of DRC, would result in the same price increase even if everyone had the same amount of wealth (and thus there were no millionaires, let alone billionaires). I think there's also an argument to be made that the wealth concentration/inequality we have now is what produces at least some of the effect for the most coveted wines, where that wealth inequality means that some people have "the price is irrelevant" wealth, but even with that concentration there are still way more people with that level of wealth than there are bottles of DRC to go around. I think I lean pretty strongly toward the latter, but it would be interesting to see someone game this out. I think in part it's because these things are interdependent - for example, if there were no wealth inequality at all, I don't think you can assume that the increase in fine wine knowledge and interest around the globe that we've seen recently would have occurred.
Last edited by D@ve D y r 0 f f on October 22nd, 2020, 1:56 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#24 Post by Gabe Berk » October 22nd, 2020, 1:41 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 11:44 am
I feel this, hard. Unfortunately, millennials like me have to either bankrupt ourselves to not only get the coveted bottles but just a wide-reaching classical wine education that previous generations had access to.

That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
Yup. Drink Old Vine Zinfandel or Mixed Blacks from California. Vines older than most of the Grand Cru/Grand Vin vineyards in Europe at a fraction the cost. At the least, the vines were around when Burgundy and Bordeaux were starting their run at what they are today. Think Pagani, Monte Rosso, Nervo to name a few...

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#25 Post by bretrooks » October 22nd, 2020, 1:43 pm

Had to look it up out of curiosity. Per this US inflation calculator site, $20-$50 in 2020 dollars correlates to:

2010: $16.76-$41.89
2000: $13.23-$33.08 (~1.5x multiplier)
1990: $10.04-$25.11 (~2x multiplier)
1980: $6.33-$15.83 (~3x multiplier)
1975: $4.13-$10.34 (~5x multiplier)
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#26 Post by Sean S y d n e y » October 22nd, 2020, 1:54 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:28 pm

Yes. And those wines could be had for $5-10 in days gone by. For example, I paid $8 a bottle for 1983 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese. Wines like Tempier, Chateau Pradeaux, Huet, etc., etc., etc., have been great for a very long time. Name your very top Barolo producers - Conterno, Rinaldi, etc., etc. Those wines were all much less than $50. There were excellent Loire wines that were dirt cheap. Guigal Cote Rotie and Hermitage and Chave Hermitage were way under $50.

You obviously were not buying wine in the 1980s and 1990s.

And, wines were even cheaper in the 70s when 1970 first growths were under $20. Multiply that by even 10 times and they were be a steal compared with prices today.

In every price range, with or without multipliers for inflation, the wines you can get today for a certain price are nowhere near what you could get for that price in the 1980s and 1990s. Certainly, as a result of the much, much higher prices, a lot more wineries make competent wines than did before the 1990s, but wine inflation for top wines has far outstripped inflation in most items. Most younger people today are paying nose-bleed prices for wines that were affordable when my generation was younger. There is no sugar coating what has happened to wine prices.
Of course I agree that if you were extremely plugged-in to the global wine scene forty years ago, you could find fantastic deals on wines that are much, much more expensive today. But you could also buy a Basquiat for fifty or sixty bucks in 1980 if you lived in NYC and had really great taste and/or a heckuva prescient view on art prices.

Like you said, the main point here is contained in your last couple of sentences.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#27 Post by HenryB » October 22nd, 2020, 1:55 pm

I think its a pretty tough argument that net global wealth evenly distributed would result in the same wine prices tbh. Like, for example, I dont believe for a second we'd have had the same level of technology innovation in the last few decades if wealth was evenly spread; you need to have a certain amount of money to be able to invest in getting a rocket that can self-land, or create a vision big enough for tens of thousands of people to invest their wealth on a blind shot on you.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#28 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » October 22nd, 2020, 1:57 pm

HenryB wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:55 pm
I think its a pretty tough argument that net global wealth evenly distributed would result in the same wine prices tbh. Like, for example, I dont believe for a second we'd have had the same level of technology innovation in the last few decades if wealth was evenly spread; you need to have a certain amount of money to be able to invest in getting a rocket that can self-land, or create a vision big enough for tens of thousands of people to invest their wealth on a blind shot on you.
Yeah, I added a sentence at the end as you were posting this giving a different example of the same point - many of these things are interdependent. BUT if you could assume "all other things being equal" like any good economist can ... [wink.gif]

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#29 Post by R Scott Hughes » October 22nd, 2020, 2:01 pm

c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:29 pm
R Scott Hughes wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:11 pm
c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:44 pm
Expansion of wealth definitely matters, but as you alluded to there's also an expansion of knowledge. Those with money that weren't previously buying wine are now, it's easier to access, wine isn't as mysterious anymore. Lots of different venues to purchase and lots of different people to connect you to the wines you want.
If it were truly being driven by an expansion of knowledge, along with the increase in wealth, then we would see prices being pushed up outside of the most famous regions. For a majority of new rich, these famous regions and famous wines are just trophies to be collected just like a Patek watch or Hermes bag. And that, to me, is the most disappointing part of this trend.
Disagree - being rich doesn't mean your intentions are different from other wine collectors. You like what you like and you focus on it. Just because people are wealthy means they all have to buy widely from every wine region. Whether you're middle class, upper middle class, upper class you're going to buy the best you can afford typically.

We got plenty of people on this board that only certain regions of wine - let it be new world or old world.
Fair enough - being rich does not in itself mean that your intentions are different. I will admit that I am fascinated reading these boards when long time collectors, who are clearly now able to afford very expensive wines, talk about their wine journeys and discuss specific wine experiences from 20-30+ years ago. So I have no doubt that there are indeed wealthy folks with tremendous passion, knowledge, and experience with wine - I just don't think that they are the ones driving the increase in prices.

In my experience and observation, there are many among the newly moneyed crowd where brand and status symbol are far more important that the underlying product - this is particularly true in many emerging markets. I am certainly not saying that it isn't possible that some of these folks are indeed passionate and knowledgeable about wine, but I would put those people in the distinct minority.

That being said, it is a pretty subjective topic so [cheers.gif] [cheers.gif] , may you enjoy the most expensive wine you can afford very soon.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#30 Post by Alex Valdes » October 22nd, 2020, 2:03 pm

Alex Valdes wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:34 pm
While there are more wealthy people and I’m sure tastes have changed as a function of knowledge, I expect the biggest contributor to the rise in prices is increased efficiency of the wine market. Wineries are price hedgers - their objective is to sell their offer year in and year out. I suspect wineries were selling out in 1990 just like they are today. So why didn’t they increase prices faster? I would guess it’s because they weren’t plugged into as deep a market and didn’t have as much price information. The maturation of the secondary market and the reduction in frictions associated with trade like freight and currency flows make it easier for wineries and distributors to know where the market is and change pricing. So, it might be that these wines were actually cheaper than they should have been for a long time but the market was too dislocated for that to get resolved through regular market forces.
To add: take another luxury good like a diamond that has had a well functioning market and has a tight control on supply. It’s prices have doubled since 1990. Take a market like concert tickets which has typically had problems reconciling face value and the secondary: prices have at least tripled.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#31 Post by Josh Grossman » October 22nd, 2020, 2:03 pm

Let's all just be happy that neoliberalism is collapsing:

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#32 Post by HenryB » October 22nd, 2020, 2:15 pm

Drink the most expensive wine you can afford, and not anymore expensive than that!
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#33 Post by Eric Ifune » October 22nd, 2020, 2:19 pm

posted by Howard Cooper
Fine. Double every price I listed and my point is still valid.
Disagree. Those wines you list are very, very good, but they are not iconic nor best of class. There are many wines who are both for relatively inexpensive prices. They are just not lusted after nor fetishized by the wealthy. You need to taste outside Bordeaux and Burgundy.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#34 Post by Anton D » October 22nd, 2020, 2:36 pm

The price of benchmark wines has grown in almost exact proportion to the drinkers of those wines ability to social signal their consumption.

You can plot the graph.

These wines are now pretty much enjoyed less by richer people rather than enjoyed more by oenophiles of normal means. So, net enjoyment of these wines has actually waned.

And I'm fine with,
I belief in a free market, just just don't dress these poseurs in 'wine-drag' as champions of discernment or educated palates.

That being gotten off my chest....Flame away. I picture the market as having shifted from nerds hanging at the wine shop over to the Clampetts, not connoisseurs, so to speak.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#35 Post by Howard Cooper » October 22nd, 2020, 3:51 pm

Sean S y d n e y wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:54 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:28 pm

Yes. And those wines could be had for $5-10 in days gone by. For example, I paid $8 a bottle for 1983 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese. Wines like Tempier, Chateau Pradeaux, Huet, etc., etc., etc., have been great for a very long time. Name your very top Barolo producers - Conterno, Rinaldi, etc., etc. Those wines were all much less than $50. There were excellent Loire wines that were dirt cheap. Guigal Cote Rotie and Hermitage and Chave Hermitage were way under $50.

You obviously were not buying wine in the 1980s and 1990s.

And, wines were even cheaper in the 70s when 1970 first growths were under $20. Multiply that by even 10 times and they were be a steal compared with prices today.

In every price range, with or without multipliers for inflation, the wines you can get today for a certain price are nowhere near what you could get for that price in the 1980s and 1990s. Certainly, as a result of the much, much higher prices, a lot more wineries make competent wines than did before the 1990s, but wine inflation for top wines has far outstripped inflation in most items. Most younger people today are paying nose-bleed prices for wines that were affordable when my generation was younger. There is no sugar coating what has happened to wine prices.
Of course I agree that if you were extremely plugged-in to the global wine scene forty years ago, you could find fantastic deals on wines that are much, much more expensive today. But you could also buy a Basquiat for fifty or sixty bucks in 1980 if you lived in NYC and had really great taste and/or a heckuva prescient view on art prices.

Like you said, the main point here is contained in your last couple of sentences.
Agreed. I started drinking good wine in the 70s because my father was an expert and then I was buying wine by 1980. A friend and I had starting subscribing to the Wine Advocate about a year before the 1982 Bordeaux futures came out. The prices were great, even for that time - significantly cheaper than prices in the market for 1975s, 1978s and 1979s. A lot of the real sweet spot I think was not in the early 1980s but probably more the late 1980s and 1990s when prices for Bordeaux were still excellent and small importers like Terry Theise, Kermit Lynch, Peter Weygandt, etc., etc., had started bringing in wines from top quality small production wines from Germany and all over France. By the late 1980s, it was easy to buy Burgundies from producers like Jacky Truchot, Bachelet, Lafarge, etc., etc., etc., and at relatively reasonable prices. And, it my local market at the time, David Schildknecht was working at retail pouring great wines for people to try and helping separate the great wines from the mediocre.

I may have shown emotion with what I said but it was not aimed at you but rather at my sadness in what has happened to wine prices.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#36 Post by Howard Cooper » October 22nd, 2020, 3:55 pm

HenryB wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:36 pm
the secondary market is clearly a driver here - for recent vintages, if they've gone up, why wouldnt you as a producer minimise the spread between your current vintage and comparable historic ones?
From what I have seen, in many small estates in Burgundy at least this is not what is happening. US prices are far higher than prices at retail in Burgundy (and very far above prices a friend of mine gets at a couple of wineries where he gets allocations) indicating that the trade is making a lot of money on a lot of highly allocated wines, not the wineries.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#37 Post by Neal.Mollen » October 22nd, 2020, 4:00 pm

c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:29 pm
Whether you're middle class, upper middle class, upper class you're going to buy the best you can afford typically.

Gotta disagree on this. I could "afford" more expensive wines than I buy but choose not to. Law of diminishing returns and all that
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#38 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 22nd, 2020, 5:59 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 4:00 pm
c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:29 pm
Whether you're middle class, upper middle class, upper class you're going to buy the best you can afford typically.

Gotta disagree on this. I could "afford" more expensive wines than I buy but choose not to. Law of diminishing returns and all that
I’m somewhere in between you two. I’m more able to afford a First Growth today at $1000 than when I graduated and they were $100. Still not buying them. I buy some higher end wines but within reason, plus a lot of regular wines for daily drinking. Even still, I feel like I drink pretty high on the hog as it is highly informed buying.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#39 Post by Kim Z » October 22nd, 2020, 6:17 pm

You guys are reciting the CCP playbook. ie, things are 'bad' because..(drumroll) rich people.

But how many centimillionaires, billionaires, etc, from China have acquired refined wine taste? China is THE economic (raw corrupt capitalism) power in the world, with three times the US population. Do you think something other than economic hegemony of China is driving insane pricing of status wines?
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#40 Post by David_K » October 22nd, 2020, 6:42 pm

R Scott Hughes wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:11 pm
c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:44 pm
Expansion of wealth definitely matters, but as you alluded to there's also an expansion of knowledge. Those with money that weren't previously buying wine are now, it's easier to access, wine isn't as mysterious anymore. Lots of different venues to purchase and lots of different people to connect you to the wines you want.
If it were truly being driven by an expansion of knowledge, along with the increase in wealth, then we would see prices being pushed up outside of the most famous regions. For a majority of new rich, these famous regions and famous wines are just trophies to be collected just like a Patek watch or Hermes bag. And that, to me, is the most disappointing part of this trend.
But that's exactly what's happened. Think about formerly rustic regions now producing cult classics such as St. Joseph, Cornas, unicorn Jura wines, etc. These are status symbols too, just among a smaller cognoscenti. Hard to see how it happens without the internet and resulting explosion of knowledge.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#41 Post by Anton D » October 22nd, 2020, 6:43 pm

Not ‘CCP,’ more like ‘money doesn’t buy someone a palate.’

Theses are name shoppers, basically.

An internet’s worth of crashed exotics with 35 miles on the odometer shows us wealth doesn’t by driving ability, either.

Like I said, free market and freedom to disdain the clientele.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#42 Post by Howard Cooper » October 22nd, 2020, 7:25 pm

Kim Z wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 6:17 pm
You guys are reciting the CCP playbook. ie, things are 'bad' because..(drumroll) rich people.

But how many centimillionaires, billionaires, etc, from China have acquired refined wine taste? China is THE economic (raw corrupt capitalism) power in the world, with three times the US population. Do you think something other than economic hegemony of China is driving insane pricing of status wines?
I think a lot of wine today is being put aside for financial investment and not to be drunk. I find this sad as to me wine is for enjoyment.

As for Chinese billionaires, etc., they have as much right to buy and drink wine as any of the rest of us do.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#43 Post by Brent C l a y t o n » October 22nd, 2020, 7:27 pm

Sigh. It's nice to reminisce. My first DRC was a 1990 Romanee St Vivant that I split with the guys at work. We chipped in $25 each on a Friday. We all had a nice sized glass. 88-89-90 JJ Prums and Willi Schaefers were like $15-30. Paid cost $66.67 for 1990 Grange. I remember when we joked about how only a billionaire like Bill Koch would pay $1200 for a case of 82 Pichon Lalande.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#44 Post by Alex Valdes » October 22nd, 2020, 7:28 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 7:25 pm
Kim Z wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 6:17 pm
You guys are reciting the CCP playbook. ie, things are 'bad' because..(drumroll) rich people.

But how many centimillionaires, billionaires, etc, from China have acquired refined wine taste? China is THE economic (raw corrupt capitalism) power in the world, with three times the US population. Do you think something other than economic hegemony of China is driving insane pricing of status wines?
I think a lot of wine today is being put aside for financial investment and not to be drunk. I find this sad as to me wine is for enjoyment.

As for Chinese billionaires, etc., they have as much right to buy and drink wine as any of the rest of us do.
Why do you think that? When I speak to wine consultants they tell the opposite but would love to hear more from those with info

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#45 Post by Michael Martin » October 22nd, 2020, 7:31 pm

John Glas wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:13 pm
That said, it's definitely the best time to be alive for finding great $20-50 bottles.
I am now at this spending price point. I have had many $100 plus wines and while I enjoy them I would rather spend my money on golf and other things I enjoy.
I reached this same conclusion a year or two ago. Lots a really good wine out there <$50.

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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#46 Post by Wade H » October 22nd, 2020, 7:36 pm

How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink THE Great Wines
Eh, maybe some truth to that. Seeing as in 30 years of wine drinking I've had exactly one 1st growth Bordeaux from a lesser vintage, precious few Grand Cru Burgundies, no Yquem, no Petrus, etc., etc.

However, income inequality has not yet managed to erase my chance to drink great wines, many great wines in fact. I've figured out I just have to play the game smart instead of simply throwing money at it, and that's quite okay. Maybe in some strange way even better as it forced me to take a much broader view instead of chasing what everyone else is chasing.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#47 Post by Victor Hong » October 22nd, 2020, 7:51 pm

The article largely overlooks economic mobility, whereby many in the current cohort of rich wine drinkers were recently nowhere near rich, unable to know about or to afford ANY wine, just a few years ago.

Example: Shareholders of Amazon.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#48 Post by Andy Sc » October 22nd, 2020, 11:17 pm

R Scott Hughes wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 2:01 pm
If it were truly being driven by an expansion of knowledge, along with the increase in wealth, then we would see prices being pushed up outside of the most famous regions. For a majority of new rich, these famous regions and famous wines are just trophies to be collected just like a Patek watch or Hermes bag. And that, to me, is the most disappointing part of this trend.
Tell that to you Malbec from Argentina for over $200, your Chilean Cab for over $100, your Rioja for more than $200, your Swiss Pinot for more than $100, your NZ red for more than $100. :):)
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#49 Post by HenryB » October 22nd, 2020, 11:22 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 3:55 pm
HenryB wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:36 pm
the secondary market is clearly a driver here - for recent vintages, if they've gone up, why wouldnt you as a producer minimise the spread between your current vintage and comparable historic ones?
From what I have seen, in many small estates in Burgundy at least this is not what is happening. US prices are far higher than prices at retail in Burgundy (and very far above prices a friend of mine gets at a couple of wineries where he gets allocations) indicating that the trade is making a lot of money on a lot of highly allocated wines, not the wineries.



I'd assume they'd normalise to the ex-London spread rather than the random American one, tbh.
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Re: NYT: How Income Inequality Has Erased Your Chance to Drink the Great Wines

#50 Post by Jay Miller » October 23rd, 2020, 6:35 am

David_K wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 6:42 pm
R Scott Hughes wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 1:11 pm
c fu wrote:
October 22nd, 2020, 12:44 pm
Expansion of wealth definitely matters, but as you alluded to there's also an expansion of knowledge. Those with money that weren't previously buying wine are now, it's easier to access, wine isn't as mysterious anymore. Lots of different venues to purchase and lots of different people to connect you to the wines you want.
If it were truly being driven by an expansion of knowledge, along with the increase in wealth, then we would see prices being pushed up outside of the most famous regions. For a majority of new rich, these famous regions and famous wines are just trophies to be collected just like a Patek watch or Hermes bag. And that, to me, is the most disappointing part of this trend.
But that's exactly what's happened. Think about formerly rustic regions now producing cult classics such as St. Joseph, Cornas, unicorn Jura wines, etc. These are status symbols too, just among a smaller cognoscenti. Hard to see how it happens without the internet and resulting explosion of knowledge.
Have to agree here. I remember when it was easy to walk into Garnet Wines and pick up a bottle of Clos Rougeard, Verset, Overnoy, etc. because they just sat on the shelves. As did anything without a Parker 90+ point rating.
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