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Possible Good News for Lovers of California Whites

The January 7, 2002 issue of Forbes Magazine has an article entitled “Fine Whine”.  This article profiles all of the money that has been invested in vineyards in California over the past few years.  The result of all the investment is that there is a current glut of wine from Napa.

Evidently, most of the investors who spent money to acquire or build vineyards put their money into the high-end grapes, figuring that wine sold for $26/bottle retail would provide a quicker return than cheaper wine.  However, the additional high end vineyards had to compete with higher than normal yields in 2000 and 2001.  The timing of additional acreage plus higher yields matched up perfectly with the recession of this year.  Restaurants and convention centers, normally buyers of expensive wines, have consumed inventories rather than purchase additional wine.

At this time, few vintners have lowered the prices of their expensive chardonnays.  Meanwhile the wine keeps piling up in their distribution centers.  Forbes expects that bankruptcy lawyers in the Valley will pick up a few new clients.  This sounds like a buying opportunity for someone (WinoJohn, WinoBob, a new line of business for us?).  Interestingly, one of the new vineyard owners profiled by Forbes, Patrick Kuleto, has graced the pages of WinoStuff for a while.  He’s the owner of Kuleto’s Restaurants in San Francisco and Burlingame, California.  Pat, if you had only invited us to chat, two of my partners could have told you that BIG REDS were the way to go.

January 8, 2002




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