America came to the wine game later, with some exceptions. Small producers sell directly to wine enthusiasts who happen to visit the winery. Direct mailing lists start and wine is sold straight to the end consumers, bypassing the middleman. Wine makers make more and end consumers pay less. Everyone wins, right? Not for the poor souls like you and me who didn’t make it on the list. We can never lay our hands on those wonderfully fermented grapes, pampered in boutique wineries in limited quantities and sold even before they are bottled. Yes, occasionally some entrepreneurial collectors who favor cash sell them on the open market, but provenance, my friend, is a high price to pay.
I still remember my first sighting of a Wren Hop in a wine store in NYC. First, I was very much taken by the book cover design of its label; the juxtaposition of a muscular style wine in a museum art piece like bottle. Then my rational left brain took over. Too good to be true…? To buy or not to buy…? How did this limited production Pinot-for-Cab-lover wine get here…? Here in my hand lies a label where only a few thousand bottles have ever been produced.
Click here to see the published article.