Why so few tasty American wines under $12? Wine importer Bobby Kacher

bobby-kacherWe recently discussed why there are so few tasty low priced wines from America, particularly compared to imports. Later, I decided to put the question to wine importer Bobby Kacher. Robert Kacher Selections is strong in bargains from Southwestern France; I highlighted the Tariquet Sauvignon (find this wine) in my book with wine recommendations, A Year of Wine, as one of 10 great wines under $10 (REDS from Patrick Campbell was also included).

Question: why there are so few good American wines under $10 while there are many more imports at that price point?

Bobby Kacher: A related question is why do so many American wineries make such expensive wines? So many American wineries have developed new, highly-allocated wines from very young vineyards that sell for $150 or more a bottle. They are trying to sell you the spin of romance and lifestyle. I visited a winery in California once and calculated just how much it cost to make the wine using expensive techniques–new barrels, farming technique, plant material, labor–and figured it was about $10 worth of wine they were selling for $300. Sure, the land was expensive and they spent millions on the winery that is a shrine to themselves so all that comes to play in their corporate profitability objectives.

It’s a strategy of luxury cuvées. Let’s just say you’re going to open a restaurant: Would you want to charge $10 for a main dish or $30? The food costs are similar but the profits may not be. Take rosé: Domaine Ott decided years ago that they wanted to be the Rolls Royce of rosé. I can assure you that they are not farmed any differently than my $10 rosés. Sure, the way they are made, they can age for two or three years.

But I actually like to drink wine, not worship it. Do you think a farmer in the Cote Rotie wants to put a bottle of his $50 wine on the table every day? No, he is buying a $5 wine for drinking every day.

I went out to a restaurant in DC with one of my producers who was visiting recently. The restaurant had his wine on the list and he was going to treat me. But he saw it was $150 a bottle and he realized that he couldn’t afford to buy his own wine! And maybe, just maybe, there were other people who couldn’t afford to buy it either.

I try to bring in a lot of wines under $20 with a lot around $15. (Because of the dollar’s weakness, that’s really where the $10 wines from a few years ago are now). To find those wines as an importer, you’re going to have to go to some crazy places on the back roads. And sell the principle that “why shouldn’t you have a wine that represents value to the consumer–maybe something that sells for $13?” Certainly if you have the equipment to make a $75 wine, then you can make a $13 wine.

Ultimately, many of my producers have lower costs than their New World counterparts. The vineyards were bought generations ago and have no debt. They don’t have five flat screen TVs in their home. They don’t have a 5,000 square foot home. They don’t have the “lifestyle” with pools, guest houses, guest kitchens and so on.

In that regard, Fred Franzia has some similarities to them since his family bought lots of their acreage decades ago when land prices were a lot lower.

Related: Tasty American wine under $12: why so little of it? Industry replies, part I
Fred Franzia and American wine under $10

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50 Responses to “Why so few tasty American wines under $12? Wine importer Bobby Kacher”

  1. I don’t make $150 wines, or even $50 wines, but I do know what it costs to make wine here, and Mr. Kacher’s assignment of $10 per bottle cost doesn’t serve to foster a meaningful discussion of the subject. ( I mostly agree with the other points he makes.) I think it’s sufficient to say that $150 bottles are overpriced. But even talking about $150 bottles is a distraction from talking about making wine here that’s affordable.

  2. This is a very timely series. It has long puzzled me as to why we cannot purchase good US table wines around the $12 mark which compete well with Spanish or Argentinian reds. Let’s hope the exchanges leads to more diversity of selection!

  3. I also like to drink wine, not worship it. But many people are more than willing to pay, as they think if it’s expensive, then it must be good. Sadly, the converse isn’t always observed. Many people in this country will drink, or eat, something just because it’s cheap. It is, after all, about perceived value.
    One thing that Bobby nailed is the cost of living and cost of land. I had a producer in Italy tell me that you don’t really buy land, it is passed down. In many cases, the only way to get vineyard land is to get it from your parents, or to marry someone who has land. In South America the issue is really about cost of living. Outside the cities, there is a much lower standard of living. We’re not talking about flat screen TVs and 5,000 sq ft, we’re talking about shacks whose only luxury might be running water. Plus here we have all the taxes, regulations, insurance, labor costs, land costs, etc.
    Still, I think the issue is that too many wineries don’t really want to make “cheap” wine, and those that do are targeting the unsophisticated customer who will only buy inexpensive wines, not those looking for great everyday food friendly wines. Too much of the cheap wine in America is Chard, Cab or Merlot centric. How many of those tasty imports you like are even made of these grapes? What makes many of them interesting is that they are different: Nero d’avola, Gamay, Grenache, Syrah, Sangiovese, Malbec, Torrontes, Albarino, etc. tend to be the kinds of wine we would probably pick anyways!

  4. I’d feel far more sanguine about Mr. Kacher’s analysis if he also addressed the single largest factor behind inflated US wine prices — the fact that neither he, nor Steve Edmunds, can sell directly to retailers but must, under force of law, use middlemen in each state.

    That’s the real reason that a $10 bottle of wine becomes a $15 bottle of wine.

  5. Most of us don’t bother to research Kacher’s claims about the lack of $12 American wines. There is a lack, but they can be found with a little effort…You have to look a little harder, but they do exist. Oregon and Washington State are producing amazing wines and a few can be found out there, even in places like New York for around $12 per bottle. I’ll be specific. Look for some Eliseo Silva wines from Washington or the Rock Point wines from Oregon. You will be utterly amazed at the quality and taste….Oh yeah and the Silva wines are organically grown; unfined and unfiltered, while the Rock Point wines from the Rogue Valley are sustainable farmed and Salmon safe…search and ye shall find…Thank your local independently owned fine wine distributor – we are a rare breed, but we do exist.Cheers!

  6. I forgot about those Silva wines! You’re right- they are pretty great!

  7. After my response yesterday to the first post in this series I went to a local discount liquor store. There it hit me. In a multi-tiered distribution system there is opportunity at every step for greed to slip in. By the time the distributor and the retailer markup the wine it may not have a prayer of a chance at coming in under $12.

    That being said, I was in a discount liquor store and there were many examples of American wine under $12. Many of these were recognizable names and good quality wine that would have cost $3 to $4 more in another “traditional” liquor store pushing the wine over $12 and toward $15 or more…

    More of this type of competition might help bring wine prices down a bit. Sadly, in my home state (Massachusetts), no individual or person can have more than 3 liquor licenses so there is a built in speed bump to competition. A recent effort to allow markets to carry beer and wine was defeated so, alas, no competition on that front either…

    My last point is that we, the consuming public, shoulder some of the blame. If we did not buy the expensive stuff prices would come down real fast. Too many have to show-off by purchasing expensive (and not necessarily any better) wine… How about we start a viral consumer movement – a moratorium on purchasing wine that costs over $20. If the market dries up for expensive wine the prices will fall quickly…

  8. Growing up I always wondered why the world was divided into extremes. If I wanted a soft drink my options were either something packed with high-fructose corn syrup, or zero sugar with some synthetic sweetener replacement. There was never a middle ground–how about putting in half the amount of corn syrup?

    Since I’ve aged I do look at this debate in the same way. There are people who just want it cheap and don’t care about the quality just as long as it is what the label says. There are also people who want the best of the best and will pay for it: low-yield wines from family-run operations and the greatest attention to detail. The point remains, I’m certain there is a market for the middle ground as well. There are people who don’t want dirt cheap for the sake of cheapness but also can’t afford the best of the best. They would like middle range quality and a middle range price. The only issue I see working against it is that few have attempted to maximize their resources on this particular market.

  9. There is alot of talk on pricing ,land cost, three tier sytems, quality of life, etc. The bottom line is a $8 retail bottle of wine from South America is better than anything in that price point from the US, bar none. Moving up through the tiers, that beat it in every level. How about the #1 WS wine 96 point that you can buy for $70 not $150.

  10. There is no question that quality comes from Argentina at great prices. However, you also have to consider that we’re almost at a 4:1 exchange rate to their currency. While tasting my way through Mendoza, I was shocked at the price-to-value ratio of Argentinian wine. I found myself buying 32 peso bottles ($8.30 USD) at dinner because they were cheaper than a glass of wine would’ve been in the U.S. However, for Argentinians this is truly more like $32, if not more.

    I do believe there are good American wines at around $12, but most of us have fallen into a price trap – we don’t believe a bottle that cheap can be good, so we never give it a chance. Last weekend I was at Sausal Winery in Alexander Valley and they had a very tasty Zinfandel for $12 or $13.

  11. Many years ago, I worked at a Sonoma County winery that was climbing out of bankruptcy. In a meeting with the TR manager and the GM, I asked why they didn’t charge for tasting their higher-end bottles. The GM looked at me like I was insane, and growled, “Because…this…is…Sonoma!” The TR manager piped up with, “That’s right, we’re selling our lifestyle, uh-huh.”
    So, when you wonder what you’re paying for in that $150 bottle of wine, know that you are getting $10 worth of wine and $140 worth of lifestyle.
    PS: the winery was sold several years later – piecemeal by property, label, inventory – and now they are history. Maybe they shouldn’t have dissed my suggestion.

    You can read about this adventure and more in my upcoming book, Mouthfeel: Confessions of a Wine Slut.

  12. […] de estas cosas, un enlace a algo muy interesante en Dr. Vino. No me imaginaba que iba yo a estar tan de acuerdo con Bobby Kacher en algo, pero lo estoy. Dice […]

  13. I am a grower but not a winemaker in the St Emilion area of France. From the time I prune to the picking it costs me about 5 Euro per bottle then add the the wine making to include bottle, capsuel and cork and we have a another 5 Euro. Now we want a margin and NOT the USA one…….

    Many of us have been saying for several years that top quality French wines are cheaper than the equivelent US ones. Now we are all in a deep economic resession only the debt free vineyards will come out of this unscathed.

    Sorry to be brutual but Napa will have to find ways of growing without water something we do not lack.

  14. Barrie:

    You wine would be very expensive in the American market.

    If your base cost is 10 Euros and you want to make a 30% profit, you are at 13 Euros. On today’s currency market that’s 18.5 dollars. The wine has to be shipped and with custom taxes that will cost about $1.80 a bottle. You’re up to $20.30.

    Your importer is going to make anywhere from $4 to $10 a bottle. You’re distributors are going to make something around 33% so you’re now up to something like $36.00.

    Retailers will add 25% to 50% a bottle. So you’re wine will be in the range $45 to $50.00 a bottle.

    So, a 13 Euro bottle of wine becomes very expensive when it finally arrives here.

    A 2 to 3 Euros a bottle wine has a change of being under $12.00. But only a chance. The currency exchange is simply killing the trade.

    A euro buys 1.4 Euros. Years ago, a dollar bought 1.4 Euros. That explains the high cost of many European wines today. A European wine at $8.00 retail is truly a Two-Buck Chuck.

    To maintain an under $12 or under $10.00 a bottle pricing, most producers would have to work under the costs of production. This is obvious not tenable.

  15. it’s amazing how expensive wines like opus one cost, when they offer thief overture for a fraction of the price.

  16. Why do so many people accept the “There are far more delicious affordable imported wines than american wines” as fact in winedom? I hear this repeated over and over again and don’t get it. Dr Vino, let’s infuse some actual science here and do an affordable New World wine version of the Judgement at Paris tasting to see if there’s any truth to it. There are so many terrific, affordable wines from both the US and abroad. This foreign is better notion is purely “the new black” of wine fashion, esp. considering that the prices of US luxury wines are falling precipitously in the current recession.

  17. […] a new Dr. Vino post., Tyler Colman shared a question he posed to Kacher: Colman: “Why are there so few good […]

  18. I posted about this topic on yesterday’s discussion so I will summarize here.

    There are plenty of CA wine under $15. I listed five of them there. I can list many more.

    Kracher may be a smart and admirable person but he does not know what he is talking about–as so many have already said.

    This discussion smacks of a lack of specific knowledge. One might also wonder if it does not also smack of bias.

  19. Blue writes ” It is amazing how much Opus One costs”, and he is right in pegging it as expensive. But, “expensive” is not the issue here, unless you also want to talk about Troplong-Mondot and Angelus. Top of the line wines from expensive areas cost top of the line prices–because ultimately the marketplace says that is what they are worth. Is Dom Perignon worth the money? Is Dom Perignon Rose worth three times more?

    Wine is a commodity in the final analysis and its pricing reflects what the market will bear. Just ask the Bordelais about their 2008s.

  20. Good debate! Thanks for raising the question Dr.Vino. TenBuckDuck

  21. The issues raised in Bobby’s piece are too important to overlook, although unfortunately they are too complicated for me to do them justice in the time I can devote to a posting. Still, here are a few thoughts that will hopefully be found useful.

    Steve writes that “[Bobby’s] assignment of $10 per bottle cost doesn’t serve to foster a meaningful discussion of the subject.”

    I fear that both Bobby’s assessment and Steve’s comment might be taken out of context. If one abstracts from the cost of renting vineyard land or (as Steve does) purchasing grapes, then a $10 assessment for the production cost of 750 ml. of serious wine (implying inter alia controlled yields; hand- or highly strategized machine-harvesting; extended élevage=upbringing &c.) is still plausible. Otherwise – and certainly in the larger context of what it takes to start-up and maintain (as opposed to inherit) a winery business – $10 is surely unrealistic.

    “To maintain an under $12 or under $10.00 a bottle pricing, most producers would have to work under the costs of production. This is obvious not tenable.”

    Joe has expressed what is pretty much the bottom line in my experience. That there nevertheless are many tasty wines as low as $12-15 can be explained by one or more of a variety of factors or scenaria, principle among these being:

    1)The farmer IS losing money. The fact that this isn’t sustainable long-term for any given farmer-winemaker doesn’t mean wines-under-cost-of-production evaporates as a source. It just means that individual growers and estates go belly-up. Even before the recent worldwide economic crisis, large segments of the industry were being fueled by juice and bulk wine bought at prices that were by any reasonable estimate below the cost of growing it. The Crisis has guaranteed an enormous additional flow.

    2. The government is offering subsidies in one form or another. To some extent, this is already factored into the ex-cellars prices of French wine, for instance, and helps explain why there can even be wine with serious quality pretentions at 1.5-2 Euros a bottle ex cellar.

    3. The grower-vintner is losing money on the low end and hoping to make it back in other price sectors. A lot of very tasty wine from highly reputable European growers represents in effect a loss-leader. Whether generic “intro-level” bottlings, second labels, or the like succeed in actually being an inducement to step up (i.e. as a genuine introduction) to the quality of wine for which a given estate stands, or whether instead they cannibalize business (the tail strangles the dog) and become a step on the road to ruin for the wine estate in question, depends on complex factors, which in any case can take years to play out.

    4. Wine sells as an industrial-scale commodity whose genuine cost of production is hidden or defered to an extent that makes it difficult even to assess. I don’t mean to pick on Australia here, but simply to use that country as the most readily understood example (just as France becomes the poster child for government subsidies) When the grower is selling on contract to a mammoth, publicly-traded corporate entity that routinely buys and sells both wineries and juice in excess of the production of some entire small European countries; and the grower’s production model is environmentally unsustainable and predicated on irrigating a desert, who can accurately assess the genuine production costs? Heaven knows most Americans should by now be familiar with the concept of commidity prices that in fundamental ways do not reflect the real costs of the commodity or resource in question. This concept applies to wine from most of the largest wine-growing countries.

    5. Some wines are brought to the consumer with a smaller degree of mediation and hence of profit-taking along the way. But bear in mind that the $1.80 a bottle Joe mentions as the cost of properly shipping, paying taxes, duty, port & customs brokerage services, etc. represents well more than 50% of the ex-cellar base price of any bottle of wine that could possibly come to the shelf for $12. Furthermore, these fixed costs have risen inexorably in recent years, in the guise of among other things fuel surcharges, security charges, and higher taxes. Retail prices of inexpensive wine are more dramatically impacted by fixed costs as a simple matter of math, and thus are less amenable to price-reduction based on bypassing middlemen.

  22. 1. Absolutely–most euro winemakers are born naked into this world and have to inherit everything they have.
    2. The US 3-tier system does much to inflate prices.
    3. The US is not a member of the EU, ergo our winemakers aren’t routinely paid off with government subsidies. (French winemakers are so dependent on such that some resort to violence to protect them–Google “CRAV” and you’ll see what I mean).
    4. There is a fundamental difference between Europe, which is devoted to stability, and the US, which is devoted to ‘going for it.’ Result: Europeans look to keep the ancient family business going in good shape, to be left to their heirs. This works and has worked for many years. (The future is a vexed questions, however, with French wine consumption plummeting while French puritanism rises.) Meanwhile, Americans seek fame and superstardom, and they ask very reasonable questions: While I COULD sell my very tasty wine for under $10, why the hell should I? Why don’t I charge what the traffic will bear? If I sell it for $10, will and wine critics take it seriously, or will they dismiss it as, at best, “a nice little food wine”?
    5. Those who (rightly) object to a ‘foreign is [automatically] better view–the New Black properly objected to by Carol–might look at Wine Discoveries, a newsletter listing “exceptional wines under $8” published lo these many years by Arthur Damond of San Francisco. Disclosure: I know Damond. He worked for me for one year in the 1960s–as a sportswriter. In the intervening 40-odd years I have seen him once.

  23. There are impediments to making inexpensive wine from expensive areas, but as people from Patrick Campbell to Carol to Bill Marsano–to name a few–have pointed out, such wine exist in abundance in California, Washington and Oregon.

    They are not exclusive province of foreign bottlers, and they exist for all kinds of reasons. Patrick Campbell carefully looks for places that can give him good quality at a price. Kendall-Jackson owns 14,000 acres of vineyards and has the ability to make decent Vintner’s Reserve with some frequency. Carol Shelton, surely one of Californias’ best Zin makers, has shown us a $15 Zin of very good quality. Chateau Ste. Michelle makes several hundred thousand cases of balanced, varietally focused Riesling.

    Art Damond has a whole newsletter devoted to the subject. I have listed a bunch of wines here and more on the previous blog on this topic. It does not require selling wine at a loss or government subsidies. It does help if one has economies of scale or a desire to do it for one reason or another.

    And it would help polite conversation on this board if people would taste before they make blanket statements that are so easily disprovable.

  24. Apologies. I should have qualified my assent to Joe’s statement and, in haste, neglected to.

    Given appropriate economies of scale AND the sale of the wine within the country (or, in the case of the EU, common market) in question certainly the equivalent of a $12 retail is possible outside the scenaria I sketched. Within EU countries, really excellent wines are amazingly inexpensive if you can buy directly from the grower, but of course Americans can get excellent value wines from their fellow citizens who are winemakers as well. Apropos Patrick Campbell – with whom I collaborated for a time – one can also achieve this sort of value if one imports in bulk and bottles in the country where the wine is to be retailed.

    But, IF wines are being imported into the US in bottle, then I would submit that one or more of the factors I innumerated will generally (I’m sure not without exception) explain any that sell for $12 or less.

  25. I’m sorry, Bobby. I very much enjoy so many of the wines you bring in…but to jump from inherited land to “flat screen televisions” and “5000 square foot homes” is insulting and inaccurate.

    The Lecheneaut Burgundies increased in price dramatically when you started representing the wines (and the % of new oak and quality of the wines improved dramitically) and now the wines are 2x plus as expensive as much new world Pinot. But I wouldn’t go on saying how the Lecheneaut brothers have new electronics or huge homes…because they don’t (at least not the last time I was there).

    You can do better than this interview.

    Adam Lee
    Siduri Wines

  26. To produce an under $10 bottle of wine, in the US you have to lose money on a small scale or bottle 10’s of thousands of bottles to leverage the economy of scale. Before it leaves the winery, if you factor in the cost of the land, the production facility, labor costs, property taxes, governmental fees for permiting, etc, the true cost of the wine is much more than $10 a bottle.

    Well then add in the cost of actually getting it to the other coast (avg 2.50-6.00 a case) you can already see before the “three tier charges” that again the costs get greatly increased.

    Lets then add the cost of warehousing the goods once it gets to the distributor (accessable warehousing isn’t cheap), and operating a fleet of trucks to get it into the marketplace, and paying the sales person, billing clerk, telephone charges, warehouse loading staff, truck driver, merchandiser) andagain you can see how the cost to the retailer is over $10.

    Wait were not done, as most states want thier cut of the pie to fund roads, schools, pet projects. Add to this the reailers costs occupy his place of business. ( Lights, insurance, coolers, staff)

    Hard to inagine that we can even talk about such a thing as a $10 bottle when you start to break down the true costs…..

  27. Here’s a feet-on-the-ground data point. By coincidence, I just procured a dozen bottles recommended by six competent local (Ann Arbor) retailers for a review column. The criteria: dry whites in the $10 to $12 price range that they feel “offer top value and quality to customers.”

    Origins of the wines:
    France — 5 bottles
    Italy, U.S. — 2 each
    Austria, Portugal, South Africa — 1 each

  28. Bobby seems, in the article, to have a chip on his shoulder against some of the “lifestyle-oriented” wineries with big dollars, buildings and equipment, without really answering the question about $10 wines in the country. I think many of the comments here have shown they can be made and can be found. It’s all about what your objective is as a winegrower/winemaker and your target market.

    BTW, Sebastiani has a GREAT Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma that I have often found at the local shop for $11-13.

  29. I think Steve Edmunds had the right attitude up top. (He also reminded me that I need to drink a long-hoarded bottle of his some time soon.)

    There’s a point for all regions where you stop paying for the bottle, the cost of getting it to the shop, and the retailer’s markup, and start paying for the wine. With France, it’s one price; Chile, another; for the US, another still. That’s not to say you can’t find bargains below that mark, but you have to know what you’re looking for.

    It’s hard to make comparisons, based on exchange rates and time, but I do suspect that the multi-tiered distribution system means that American wines fit more neatly into the retail environment of, say, British wine shops than ones back in the US. There’s more basic consistency at a lower price than most French offerings, but fewer bargains than the producers of South America.

    With $10 to spend, I’m going to buy American if I have the store’s expertise to lean upon, but there’s usually no guarantee that I’ll see that wine any time soon. At $15, for better or worse, I’m likely to have a choice of west coast wines that I’ll be able to drink again.

  30. Great Discussion everyone!

    At this point I have no hope that california will stop producing the amount of garbage it does today. If France and other countries have all of the mentioned advantages then to compete California should just scrap producing wine under $10. If it takes a few extra doallrs to put a good bottle of wine on the market than so be it. Let what is in the bottle justify the price. I would certaintly consider buying from california even if it was $3-$5 more expensive. So far I have tasted nothing that would make me consider spending more on california wine that a bottle from France or other Euorpean country. Side by Side California always comes up second in the Price range we are discusssing. Actaully I have to go to about $18 to $20 to get something that I like as much from France at about $12 to $15. There will alwyas be cheap drinkers that really don’t care about quality and for that reason I am glad Almadena and franzia exisit. For everyone else stop buying the crap that gets bottled and labled with some stupid name that “looks” good. If the wine drinkers don’t put pressure california to shape up then they will never stop themselves and this debate will continue for decades. cheers!

  31. […] “Why so few tasty American wines under $12? Wine importer Bobby Kacher“ Permalink | SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “Ernest Gallo, behavioral economist”, url: […]

  32. Wow, many great things explored and opinions mentioned. I thank you all for what you had to say but this debate will never end. But a very good one regarding California’s water source lasting! The bottom line is this, no matter who you are and where you are your wallet in the end will decide your pallet. You will grow to like the wines your finances are willing to permit. With this said yes, there are some good wines out there under $20 and yes there are many undrinkable ones as well. On the other hand, there are plenty of expensive wines out there that are just as undrinkable.

    Based only on my pallet! For each has their own!

  33. Interesting interview. It seems as though the current recession is forcing the hand in terms of wine prices. Several wine retailers and winemakers have told me recently that the average-price-per-bottle has dropped to between ten and fifteen dollars and the more expensive stuff is moving much slower.

    Joel Goldberg made a good comment above about the legal barriers. The ‘forced distributor’ factor is one that most folks probably aren’t aware of…

  34. I was told be a person who believes himself to be quite knowledgeable, that “Two Buck Chuck” won a blind wine tasting in New York. (Date unknown.) Is that true?

    Jerry Thorpe
    Tacoma, WA

  35. “A 2 to 3 Euros a bottle wine has a chance of being under $12.00. But only a chance. The currency exchange is simply killing the trade.” – Joe Dressner

    Joe’s correct. A $12.00 wine is more likely a under Euro 2.00 wine – something, I’m sorry, I would never drink, buy or sell.(I’m speaking of wines from Italy. Other countries might have different pricing structures.)

    My Twitter on June 5th:
    $15 RETAIL. IMPORTED. Calculated @
$0.88/Euro 1 in ’02. Now, $1.45. 65% increase. Ocean freight doubled. R u still drinking the same price point?
    2:57 PM Jun 5th from TweetDeck

    Your $15.00 imported bottle of a wine of the same quality from Italy you consumed in 2002 is now more likely a $25.00 bottle – and only if the vintner didn’t raise the price within the last 7 years.

  36. […] “Why so few tasty American wines under $12? Wine importer Bobby Kacher“ Permalink | Comments (2) | SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "The declining dollar, through the […]

  37. There are dozens of good US white wines under $12 a bottle, as well as good zins, petite sirahs and the occaisional merlot. Can you come up with more good under-$12 non-US wines? I hope to god you can, given the ratio of US wine to all other producers around the world.

  38. […] discussed the lack of tasty California values last year in relation to Fred Franzia, and heard from wine importer Bobby Kacher and winemaker Patrick […]

  39. […] SPIT: California values The Bay Area NYT is the latest to ponder the question of why are there so few tasty value wines from California. […]

  40. […] This may have to do with the fact that it is hard to find tasty American wines that retail for under $12 a bottle, thus putting them at a disadvantage in a restaurant situation with higher […]

  41. Here are Washington wines all at $10.00:
    W.B.Bridgeman Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, W.B.Bridgeman Cellars 2008 Riesling, W.B.Bridgeman Cellars 2008 Viognier, W.B.Bridgeman Cellars 2007 Syrah, W.B.Bridgeman Cellars 2007 Merlot, and W.B.Bridgeman Cellars 2008 Chardonnay. These are high-quality wines released by Precept Wine Brands in Seattle. Named for William Bridgeman who in 1914 was a wine pioneer in the Yakima Valley.

  42. Those Bridgeman wines are awful. There is absolutely nothing high qualuty about them. How about expanding the point to say “wines around $10 that you would actually want to drink”?

  43. Charlie Olken has got to be kidding. More likely he’s simply rooting for his home team. Five wines that he lists for under $15? Five? Wow. You go Charlie! That sure shuts down Kacher, huh? Give me a break. There are single wineries in Spain and the south of France that put out more five different wines for under $15 that are really good. And you think that listing five from the entire state of California proves something? Go ahead, list some more, with the proviso that they can’t be swill. Get a grip, Charlie boy.

  44. How many would you like listed before you stop insulting everyone?

    Oh, and while you are at it, please list your name. Step up and tell us who you really are.

    Here is a hint by the way. I looked back through my data base of reviews from the past few years. I get almost one thousand West Coast wines rated as Good Values. Since, the topic was “Why so few tasty American wines, under $12?”, I think the answer to that question for you and for Mr. Kacher is “I can name 1,000”.

  45. […] Yes, California makes a lot of wine and much of it is under $12. But, as we have discussed before, precious little of it the California wine under $12 is estate wine; rather it is often assembled from far-flung vineyards in steel tanks so large they could double as […]

  46. Guaranteed Website Visitors…

    […]Why so few tasty American wines under $12? Wine importer Bobby Kacher | Dr Vino's wine blog[…]…

  47. […] that they are north of $25, so there’s only so much thirst one can quench. We have discussed California’s value challenge before several […]

  48. […] “Why so few tasty American wines under $12? Wine importer Bobby Kacher” […]

  49. I read your article about the cost of making wine in the US and the elaborate mansions built for the image of the wineries, but I think that there is a Appellation region where great tasting wines that you can drink everyday and where the wines are priced to be able to do so. Check out the delicious wines of the New York’s Finger Lakes. Your senses will be thrilled and your wallet won’t be empty.

  50. […] high costs, a search for ROI, and an aspirational product/lifestyle explain in part why there are so few tasty domestic wines under $15. Also, it was fun to learn that Jim Laube got a wine from a vintner via their mutual golf pro and […]


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