Cheap Wine Vs. Expensive Wine
By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier
Wine is a commodity. In economics, a commodity is defined as an item produced to satisfy consumerâ€™s wants or needs. So my short answer toÂ explain why some wine is cheap and some expensive is supply and demand. There are, however, many costs that go into making that wineÂ good enough to command the price no matter how high or low, the firstÂ being where the grapes are grown. Trial and error over thousands ofÂ years have taught us where certain grapes grow best. Basically, a wineÂ that simply states â€œCaliforniaâ€ on the label is cheaper than one fromÂ a more specific region because the broader labeled wine can be made usingÂ grapes grown anywhere in the state. The more specific, the lessÂ there is, the more money it costs. (An acre of land in Napa can costÂ nearly 500 thousand dollars, and thatâ€™s before a single grape isÂ grown.) The next cost is the type of oak used and the time the juiceÂ spends in it! That can add 2 to 4 dollars to the price of theÂ bottleâ€¦and by the way, the bottle itself can add 1 to 3 dollars. AddÂ the cost of labor, the cork, the packaging and finally itâ€™s taste that counts, right? Not necessarily. What score did it get? And who gave it that score? That may not matter to you, but it does impact the price on the shelf. Ok ok, it does eventually come down to taste. I can give you a very good tasting â€œvalueâ€ wine and a very bad tasting â€œsuper premiumâ€ wine, but you can rest assured that the majority of wines that command higher prices are on average better â€œmadeâ€. That is NOTÂ to say they are better wines. Your taste preference is the only one that matters.Â The good news is we are living in the golden age ofÂ wine. Advances in viticulture are the reason. A $15 bottle today is,in my opinion, better than a bottle costing three times that priceÂ just twenty years ago. Wine is so much more than simply the sum total in the glass. Put yourself in the perfect place with the people you most love and, whatever the cost of the bottle, the wine is priceless.