You’re friends with one or both of us. You know our parents. You like our story. You bought a bottle of Claudine because you think we’re funny (maybe) or charming (just plead the Fifth). Whatever the reason, we truly appreciate your support! We also know it will take more than our good looks and a great story to make you a repeat customer.
Indeed, we know that in order to keep you coming back, we must provide a compelling value in the face of other great Napa wines. While this post won’t go into the economics of the entire wine business, I will provide some context for our business model.
Much of the high-end wine in Napa is predicated on brand image that exemplifies luxury, exclusivity and over-the-top opulence. And while there are discernible differences between a $10 and a $50 cabernet, we find it difficult to justify spending $150 on a single bottle of Napa Valley Cab. Enter: Claudine Wines. We are advocating for you (because we already advocate for ourselves). There is simply no need to spend a hundred dollars or more on a good bottle of wine.
When it comes to our products, we spend money where it makes sense: exceptional cabernet, cab franc, and pinot noir. We save money of the insignificant pieces, the things that are thrown away, like bottles, corks, and foils. We were shocked (but played it cool, mind you) to discover that you can spend as little as $0.75 for a glass bottle that is lightweight and clear, versus $7 or $8 for one that is heavy and very dark. Note: the glass type does not affect the quality of the wine once it is in the bottle. Conversely, the heavier bottle costs more to ship and won’t fit nicely into a wine fridge. Wouldn’t you know, the greatest Chateau in Bordeaux bottle their wines in what Americans would consider low-end glass. Bottom line for Claudine? We didn’t spend a great deal of money on the bottle.
Another area where we save is wine storage. Cases of wine are heavy, fragile and take up a lot of space. Holding that inventory costs money, which is why we aim to pre-sell a portion of the wine even before it is bottled. Doing so means more savings are passed on to our customers. Efficiency is the name of the game, and your friendly MIT-trained economist is keeping an eye out for it.
I guess that is our secret, then: utilize an efficient business model while providing you, our family and friends, access to the wines we like to drink. Claudine Wines are something you will be proud to open for your wine friends and something you can still afford to open for yourself…on a Tuesday…with leftovers…
As the recipient of many well-intentioned but unused wine gifts, I feel compelled to act on behalf of all wine drinkers.