Is a $100 bottle of wine better than a $20 bottle?

September 15, 2018

Is a $100 bottle of wine better than a $20 bottle?

The short answer is “not necessarily.” But it’s a logical question, and the more time you spend browsing the shelves at your local wine shop, the more likely you are to ponder the thought. 

What are the fixed costs of winemaking? 

The process for tending to and harvesting grapes is basically the same for all wine. Other costs that don’t really vary from producer to producer are things like bottles, labels, corks and capsules (foils). There may be some variation according to the size and weight of the bottle and the quality of closure used, but for all intents and purposes, those details are not going to affect the overall price of the wine.

Why are some wines so expensive?

There are three factors that can really influence the final cost of wine: terroir, production, and the winemaker.

Terroir: This is basically where your wine comes from. It's all the environmental factors, including location. An acre of land under vine in Napa can sell for $300,000 per acre or more. Head south 150 miles to the Central Coast region, and an acre goes for just $15-25k. That variable alone will result in a higher asking price for the Napa wine.

Production: Vineyards yield as many as 7,200 bottles and as few as 720 per acre. It goes without saying that someone producing fewer bottles of wine will ask more per bottle than a more prolific producer on similar property. Taking these variables into consideration, it becomes clear very quickly why the initial price of a bottle can vary widely. It is more obvious, too, why a producer growing grapes on less desirable land and churning out a high number of bottles - a la Two-Buck Chuck - will not command a high retail price.

The winemaker: This is the individual behind the magic, the one in charge of marrying art and science and producing something worth drinking, something worth paying more for. A highly-regarded winemaker strengthens a brand and can send a certain label’s prices into the stratosphere. 

Is Claudine Wines as good as a $100 bottle of wine? 

Claudine Wines sources from some of the best known vineyards in Napa Valley.  While we cannot tell you exactly where we get our wine, we can tell you that the winemakers are world-renowned, and the average retail price per bottle is decidedly north of $100.  

Now, we understand that wine is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. It might seem irrational for you and me to spend $200 on a single bottle, but someone out there will. We're just pleased to point out that this "someone" doesn't have to be you. 

In the end, the question of value is personal. Is the most expensive bottle in your cellar also your favorite? Do you have "expensive taste" or do you enjoy different wines for their qualities, regardless of price point? Is a $100 bottle of wine really much better than a $20 bottle? You tell us! 

On that note...Cheers!

-Brian




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