In my Ask the Editor’s blog earlier this week, I mentioned how exciting some of the top Argentinean wines are – but how prices are also quickly rising for the best wines.
I don’t begrudge a winery getting all it can for its product (assuming the quality is there), but my first responsibility is always to you the reader, the consumer – and high prices are always a bone of contention. Prices north of $100 a bottle for a beverage meant to provide enjoyment at the dinner table are tough to stomach.
Making quality wine is neither a cheap nor easy endeavor, and I consider Achával-Ferrer to be one of the industry leaders in Argentina. I also happen to adore the Achával-Ferrer wines, and have purchased them for my own cellar. So in the interests of equal time, I’ve let Achával-Ferrer owner Santiago Achával explain his reasons for the price increases here.
“Since late 2003 we’ve had cost increases on many and varied fronts. The following are just examples:
1. Salaries have increased 50% as measured in dollars. This should never be a reason for unhappiness, since it means an increased standard of living for our workers. But nevertheless, it is a significant item of our cost structure. Remember that the production of high quality wine is extremely labor intensive.
2. All things stainless steel related have increased 40% in dollar terms. Call it the “China / India” effect. This is extensive to all things copper related (copper sulphate for vineyard sprays).
3. French oak barrels have increased 28% due to the increase of the Euro vs. the US dollar. And this is only counting since both currencies achieved parity, not since the lows of the Euro of $0.85.
4. All fuels and plastics have increased to follow the price increases of oil. These increases are higher on average than 50%.
So we have had no alternative than to increase our prices: 11% for the Mendoza Malbec, 25% for Quimera and 22% for our Fincas.”
After you read through them, feel free to let me know your thoughts. How much does price affect your buying decisions when it comes to outstanding (90+ point) wines? Are some price increases justified? What’s your cutoff point – pricewise – when it comes to a wine that you love?
Dan Jaworek — Chicago — June 16, 2006 5:05pm ET
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