Monday, July 24, 2006

The Price of Coping With Cult Cabernet Sauvignon Subscriptions

The new owners of Oakville's cult Cabernet Sauvignon producer, Screaming Eagle, just announced a big jump in price of their famous wine from $300 a bottle to $500 a bottle, a record release price for a California wine. Undoubtedly, the new owners' confidence in jacking up the price so heftily and so soon after they just acquired the property springs from the soaring prices of Bordeaux 2005 classed growths, as first growths like Lafite have hit $700 a bottle. Also, it must be noted that secondary market pricing for Screaming Eagle ranges from $1,000 to over $2,000 a bottle.

Knowing how Napa wine producers keep close tabs of their neighbors' pricing, it won't be long now until other top labels ratchet up their prices. Wineries with equally serious claims for cult wine status like Harlan, Bryant, Colgin, Araujo, and Sloan are likely to almost double their price tags if not this year then by next year.

Folks lucky enough to be in the subscription lists of these cult labels, however, would be scratching their heads when they receive their next offer letters in the mail. Coping with their allocations and, therefore, staying in the subscription lists would mean coughing up a lot of dough. Hopefully, many would not opt sending their kids to public schools, instead. Hey, maybe wineries, just like car dealerships, would tie up with banks to offer innovative financing schemes. A Screaming Eagle Visa card maybe?

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