Unlike with my pick for Wine of the Year, which is a wine that has moved me and changed my view of wine in some way, shape or form, I award my Winery of the Year selection to a winery that has had consumer interests at top of mind.
This can be seen as a vague statement in that most wineries have their consumers’ interests at heart in one way or another.
Wineries are out there making the best wines they can make for a certain price, or the best wines they can make at any price. They are also there trying to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate what consumers might want down the road. All good and true, but what’s the motivation? Bottom line is the bottom line.
I’d be a fool to say that this year’s Winery of the Year isn’t in it for the money, they don’t call it the wine business for nothing. Once you move past the bottom line, there are a few other aspects that distinguish those wineries that really value their clients over all else.
The first is value. It’s not easy to produce world-class wine at price points that are widely affordable. Consider this year’s choice, whose wines range from about $35 a bottle at retail to about $60 a bottle for the rarest single vineyard offerings. If you are lucky enough to be on the producer’s mailing list, these wines tend to be in the $30 to $40 range. The uptick in price reflects not only the increasing demand this producer is finding for his wine, but also the regard he holds for his customers. It keeps those who’ve managed to make his mailing list loyal, repeat and satisfied customers.
Winery image via Shutterstock
The second point worth making here is that this winery’s star is still ascending. His wines have always received significant critical acclaim, but there is no doubt that his current release of wines are the best he has ever made. While last year I awarded my Winery of the Year to a producer of Zinfandel, this year’s winner offers so much more.