First and foremost I want to wish Susie a Happy Birthday! I am so happy I met her and we fell in love. She fills my life with love and adventure. I look forward to many more years together, traveling the world, sharing each others company and just living life together.

My son has his birthday tomorrow and I am very proud of what he has become in his life. He is well liked by anyone who crosses his path. Micah’s girlfriend Jesse and I took the two out to dinner last night and we had a great time together. Micah turns 29 tomorrow and we were talking about celebrating his entry into a new decade next year, with a trip to Vegas. The planning has begun. At dinner last night we, of course, enjoyed wine with our meals. Susie and Jesse had bubbles, while Micah and I took care of a bottle of Thurston Wolfe Family Red. At the end of the meal, Micah and I each ordered up a glass of Fidelitas 4040 Red. The wine was stunning! Deep, concentrated and complex. We each took the first sip out of our glass and just looked at each other with a little touch of awe. Charlie Hoppes, owner and winemaker at Fidelitas is coming to the island as a guest at one of my tasting events in April. I am really excited to have him up. After drinking the 4040, that excitement intensified.

While dining, a regular customer of mine at the store sauntered up to our table with a bottle of wine in his hand and asked if I could order up a case of it for him. I told him he might want to know the price before he committed. I mentioned it was around thirty dollars a bottle and he back-peddled immediately. He is a great guy and I know his preferred budget for wine purchases. There isn’t a lot of us who can spring for a case of wine at that price. There was one thing he said that caught my attention. After telling him the price, he said…”No wonder it was so good.” That begs the question. Does price drive quality?

I have been in the wine business for many years, and I have built a reputation for finding wines that are not only well-made but also well-priced. I have had great success finding wines that are amazing for under twenty bucks. It’s not to say that wines over that price are not amazing as well. The point is, that price does not always dictate quality. I have had many wines in the 40-80 dollar range that was to say the least, disappointing. Now, there are reasons why wine of high quality is expensive. Cost of fruit is a big reason. Quality fruit is key for producing quality wine. For instance, if a winemaker chooses to, he or she can spend up to $4,000 a ton to get what they consider the best fruit. If they don’t screw it up during the winemaking process, they will most likely come out with a stellar wine. Of course, the price of the fruit has to be reflected in the cost of the bottle of wine, or they couldn’t stay in business for very long. Oak barrels, equipment, consultation among other things will dictate the price of a bottle of wine. Not all of those things are necessary to make good wine, except for the quality of fruit, that is of utmost importance. Quality fruit can be found in many places without forking out $4,000 a ton. Some feel that in order to charge a lot for their wines, they need to have Napa Valley or Walla Walla Valley on their labels. I have customers who will only buy wines from these appellations. Personally, I hope you never get stuck in that kind of rut. Wine does not have to be expensive to be quality and just because it is expensive does not mean it is of high quality.

About Stan The Wine Man

I am a blue collar wine guy who has been in the biz for over twenty years. I work at a store in a tourist destination stop. I work hard at finding the best wine for the money. I love the challenge of learning my customer's palate so I can find the best wine for them, whether it is Petrus or white zinfandel. Cheers!
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