Business Insider FINANCE . June 26. 2014.
3 Ways That Winemakers Trick You Into Paying Too Much
Unless you’re a wine connoisseur, finding the right bottle can be tricky. It’s generally accepted that the more expensive a bottle of wine, the better it is.However, Ryan O’Connell fromNakedwines.com says belief is prompting winemakers to up their prices, sometimes unreasonably so.
Nakedwines.com is a customer-funded winery that helps independent winemakers set up a business.
O’Connel, a marketing manager-turned winemaker says that the day he entered the production side of wine, he began spotting patterns — ways that winemakers could potentially take advantage of consumers.
Here are three main indicators he gave us to tell whether or not you’re paying too much for a bottle of wine.
1. Award competitions
It doesn’t take much to convince the average wine buyer that a medal means high-quality.
“In the industry, we all know that medals and competitions of that sort, especially in the U.S., are pretty much luck-based. So many competitions award medals to 80 percent of the entrants, that it’s just kind of a money machine for the people running the competition,” O’Connell says. “Those medals are worth about as much as the blue ribbon on a PBR.”
He says that large production wines can pay a lot of fees to rack up awards in easy competitions. Good indicators of a trustworthy wine competition include locality, a diverse panel of judges and a low percentage of awards. Several good competitions O’Connell mentioned were the North Coast Wine Challenge and the International Wine Challenge.
2. Bottle packaging
Like most products, winemakers can get away with higher pricing just by spending more on the packaging. To tell if you’re paying for the packaging or the wine, O’Connell recommends feeling the weight of the bottle first. He says some companies use heavier bottles to make people subconsciously spend more.
Another embellishment winemakers add is the punt, or the indent on the bottom of the bottle. Luxury wine punts usually measure about 1.5 inches, which means more money spent on design. Although larger punts make for more stable shipping, O’Connell says it’s a pretty good indicator of how much effort was put into the packaging.
Even things opacity and color of the glass can cost extra. O’Connell says once you’ve noticed the differences once, it becomes easier to pick them out in the store.
“If you’re buying wine for $10-15 and it’s got expensive packaging, you’re probably putting more money into the packaging than the grapes. If you spend $100, then there’s a fair chance that the winemaker just spent a ton of money on the fruit, AND a ton of money on the packaging,” he says.
3. Regional acclaim
When buying wine from a famous region, you’re paying for the region’s brand just as you’re paying for the bottle.
“If a region is really world-famous, then it’s probably spent a lot of money achieving that world fame,” O’Connell says. “Then everything gets more expensive as a result of that marketing expense.”
Not that those regions don’t deserve their reputation. But O’Connell believes that it’s hard to extricate the costs of the marketing from the costs of actual wine production.
As a work around, O’Connell suggests finding a region nearby that makes a similar style of wine. You may end up paying a quarter of the price you’d find for a celebrity region.
For beginners, find some local wine stores. Talk one-on-one to winemakers who can open up some bottles and let you taste their wines. Once you familiarize yourself with the different regions and their tastes and prices, you’ll be able to better understand what you’re getting with your money.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/3-ways-that-winemakers-overcharge-2014-6#ixzz36lehdBe0
Who said one can’t have fun at work?
Three fabulous days of the France Show at Earl’s Court. Thanks to the many friends who came to help promote O’Vineyards B&B – Food & Wine Experience, and our UK/US distributor Naked Wines. Without your help we never could have handled the massive number of visitors requesting info about O’Vineyards Food & Wine!
To top off the trip, a private Soirée was held at Michael & Fay Storie’s house in Kent with dinner cooked by Liz. Joe animated the whole gamut of O’Vineyards wines ordered from Naked Wines by Michael & Fay.
With Naked Wines & Gressingham Duck
As seen on Gressingham Duck
“This is your chance to win a romantic vineyard trip for two.
This prize includes three nights at Domaine O’Vineyards in Carcassonne
A romantic meal for two in the Hotel de la Cite’s Michelin-starred restaurant La Barbacane.
Two runners up will receive a case of wine from Naked Wines.”
The recipe for our Raclette Lunch can be found in this O’Vineyards B&B page
Ryan is in Napa. Muse filled in and helped Joe and I entertain our Visitors! She takes them for long walks around the vineyard. We always knew she had the potential to do more! and here she is!.. doing a wine tasting … and lunch… “Raclette and Charcuterie” with a bottle of Naked100 2011!
Joe raised his glass to our Naked 100 Share Owners! I do to!…but someone has to take the pictures! Cheers!
“Some Naked people came to pick up their wine last week, and we all had a blast!”
I admit it was somewhat alarming to hear these words coming from Liz during my first few days at O’Vineyards. I was going to have to live with these people for several weeks, so I needed an explanation. Luckily Ryan had previously posted about the Naked Wines Angels, who are the main actors in O’Vineyards’ new vineyard share program. One hundred “Angels” rented some of O’Vineyards vines and are paying Naked Winemakers Ryan and Joe O’Connell to see these vines through wine fruition. Now, the Naked Wines Angels are streaming in one by one to pick up their wine. If you are still confused, they are perfectly normal people–properly clothed and everything–they just went that extra mile because they really like our wine.
Michelle and David, Naked Angels
So, meet Michelle and David. They are Naked Angels. Liz and Joe had the pleasure of meeting Michelle and David (I unfortunately was not here yet) when they stayed at the B&B around two weeks ago. They enjoyed a tour of O’Vineyards and shared good times and good food around the Winemakers’ Table. As Michelle very poetically puts it in her TripAdvisor review: “We arrived strangers and left as friends.” They also reportedly arrived as fully clothed and sober angels, and left as…
So a lot of people have asked what I’ve been doing in California for three months. It’s been tough to be away from the vines for so long (even if the weather here is really beautiful, I miss my vent Cers).
Well I can finally announce that Naked Wines is coming to the USA, and we’re beta tasting. You might have heard of beta testing, when software companies do a partial early release to gauge public reactions before the real launch. Well if Silicon Valley has beta testers, Napa Valley deserves beta tasters! We’ve spent months and months and months recruiting winemakers and crowd-funding new wines. I can’t say everything yet because we’re just in the beta tasting phase. But soon we’ll reveal everything (again totally naked!)
Anyway, if you’re an American reader and fortunate enough to live in one of our participating states, you can apply to be a Beta Taster at nakedwines.com. On your application, you’ll probably want to mention that you know me and look forward to having my wines available in the US.
I love the name New French wine. I could be part of a New France movement. Very inline with the Outsiders group. Thanks for the comment, Jane! Really nice to hear that we’re doing something right and that all of our work is paying off. 🙂
I got to see a lot of British friends while I was on Naked Wines UK Tour this summer. Even Jancis Robinson, the queen bee herself attended our London tasting. And she had exceptionally positive things to say about the innovation at Naked Wines and also the quality of wine.
Overall quality of Naked Wines
“There are no duds, even if most of the offerings are of solid rather than mind-blowing quality – but the range is really interesting (see, for example, boutique Chileans, dry Germans, the stunning value Strathbogie Pinot and Slovenians). And if you search for GV (good value), you will find some VGV and the odd VVGV. But please be warned that not all of these wines will still be available. You can check at www.nakedwines.com.”
Jancis correctly points out that the entire range at Naked is solid quality and there are many hidden gems with very good value. She also acknowledges that the listed prices are 30% higher than the discounted price available to the thousands and thousands of Naked Angels, paid members of the site.
Impression of the Winemakers
“We were allowed in early at the beginning of the tasting session and it was rather sweet to see this collection of mainly young men, all in the same Naked Wines T-shirt, chatting excitedly with each other, rather like freshers on their first day at university.”
I did like this bit about how the winemakers (myself included) were standing about the room before the tasting like a bunch of first years at university. 🙂 It’s a remarkably accurate description as the whole tour reminded me a lot of college. Roaming around a new environment with a bunch of great people I just met. Free shirts. A bit of drinking. 🙂
O’Vineyards Tasting Notes
I don’t cater my winemaking to specific journalists, but it’s always really nice to hear that very accomplished wine pros who have been around the block like what I’m doing. 🙂
O’Vineyards, Trah Lah Lah 2008 IGP La Cité de Carcassonne
16.5 Drink 2011-2015
Made by Ryan and Joe O’Connell. 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep crimson. Nicely integrated. Sweet start and attractively dry, lively finish. Still a bit chewy but chock full of life. 13.5%
£12.99 Naked Wines
And I’m not the only one she liked. As mentioned above, no duds in this tasting. The Languedoc did exceptionally well as we represent an important part of the Naked Wines portfolio. Winemaker Ben Darnault got one of the many Good Value awards in Jancis’ notes for his highly drinkable “Very Languedoc” Minervois. And Hegarty-Chamans put forward some nice wines that raised her brow. Always interesting things to drink in the Languedoc. 🙂
O’Vineyards Proprietor’s Reserve 2006 was delivered in the UK recently and the reviews are pouring in as quickly as the wine is being poured into glasses!
Try a bottle
Everybody orders in increments of six bottles. Even though this is a wine they know can sit for a long time in their cellar, it’s only human to want to taste one straight away and evaluate for themselves how it will age and when would be the best time to open the other five!
So right away, we have a lot of people trying a bottle.
How to cellar a wine
Once you discover the wine is good, it’s very hard to resist the temptation of drinking them all young on the fruit flavors! One customer suggested her perfect solution: buy 2 cases ;D
Posted by Julie Boulton on 16:17 25/08/2011
Comment on: Domaine O’Vineyards Proprietors Reserve 2006
The characteristics of this wine make it go well with a wide range of foods. We tried it with tapas and each dish brought out different undertones. A real medley of tastes! I’d highly recommend trying it this way, but do include some spicy meats, chicken and cheese dishes. Wonderful and very smooth.
Agree it’s too powerful to drink on its own.
A very special wine to be savoured with every mouthful…
I’ve put 6 bottles aside, so there are 5 on my rack to indulge in whenever the urge takes us… now you’re thinking I’ve been a bit greedy buying 2 cases, but I’m very glad I did (at Market Place prices)! Well done Ryan and Joe… a votre sante!
Dealing with Negative Feedback
I should confess that one person has given us a negative review on the wine. It’s really great how Naked Wines puts me in direct contact with my wine drinkers, and this comment is a perfect example. The man says he’s disappointed and “Delivery was left in porch foe some days” [sic] A-ha! I think that’s a good guess, and I recommend the best way to get his money back. Crisis averted.
In the wine world, there is such a long chain of custody between vineyard and your cellar, there are a million things that can go wrong. If he hadn’t offered this information, I’d be left scratching my head wondering how anybody could describe this wine as lacking oomph. If anything, the major criticism of the O’Vineyards Reserve is too much oomph! ;D So here, the comment system allows me to discover what went wrong and offer the best course to rectify the problem. All businesses should be so lucky!
O’Vineyards Proprietor’s Reserve 2006 finally made its way to households across the UK. One of my favorite things about Naked Wines is the rabid devotion and excitedness of the customers over there. We get instant updates about the wine being delivered and it seems to never take more than a day for somebody to pop open a bottle and let us know how well it traveled.
Naked Wines customers are Fast
Posted by Darren Lewis on 17:51 18/08/2011
Woo hoooooo…… the O’Vineyards Proprietors Reserve 2006 Marketplace offering arrived today.
Now I just need to make up a special occasion so that I can drink it.
Is Thursday a special enough occasion?
Darren confirmed the wine has been delivered at their home at 17:51 on the 18th. I wonder how long it will be before somebody opens a bottle. Less than 3 hours later Trevor is already reviewing the wine online:
Naked Wines customers are devoted
And the reviews keep coming in! We’ll keep hearing from them about how the wine is evolving and meeting their needs. Do their friends like it? Do their kids like it? How does it compare to other wines from O’Vineyards or other vintages of Reserve. We get all this feedback for free and it helps us make better wines to better please our best customers.
Naked Wines customers are the best customers in the world.
PS – It took Darren a few days to open that bottle, but he immediately let us know how it went!
Posted by Darren Lewis on 13:31 21/08/2011
Comment on: Domaine O’Vineyards Proprietors Reserve 2006
Not for the feint of heart.
It’s a deeply heady blend, packed with ripe fruits and carrying an undertone of floral perfume.
This intensity, coupled with a slightly dry finish might make it just too full-on for some to drink on it’s own. But, all of these characteristics make it a perfect match for a nicely rare steak.
Top drawer again O’Connells…… and I have 5 more bottles to indulge in.