Our brand loyalty has little to do with our desire to support a favored vintner.
Usually we’re driven away from our pet wines due to one of two factors (sometimes both), which have been bantered about in this space the past few days and weeks.
One is price.
The other is quality.
As a wine achieves greater recognition for its quality, its price typically goes up.
In a perfect world, for consumers, that escalation is incremental. One wine that comes to mind is Paloma Merlot. When its 2001 Napa Valley was named Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year in 2003, the price was $45, and the wine was better than most red wines made that year, in California or anywhere else.
The next year the owners raised the price of their 2002 Merlot (another great wine) to $51, and last time I checked, that’s where the price was. Production isn’t much, around 2,000 cases, and I’m sure that, if they wanted to, the owners could easily charge twice the current price and sell the wine without a problem. It’s that good and distinctive.
The other reason we abandon brands is that their quality drops. The wine we loved last year doesn’t taste as good this year. Sometimes you can blame that on a vintage.
But often, the reason a brand's quality declines is they can’t grow in volume and simultaneously maintain quality.
When people ask me what happened to the wines they used to cherish from winery X, Y or Z, I tell them to first look at the case production figures (which usually tell the story) or the vineyard sources.
Maintaining quality usually means keeping a cap on production and using the same grape sources that led to the initial success.
It doesn’t hurt, either, to have the same winemaker who was able to make that great wine, or value, in the first place.
Do you have any other reasons for dropping a brand?
Tim Sylvester — Santa Monica, CA — July 26, 2006 7:40pm ET
Totv — La Quinta, CA — July 26, 2006 7:54pm ET
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — July 26, 2006 7:58pm ET
Wayne Richmon — July 26, 2006 9:25pm ET
Robert Duncan — July 26, 2006 10:35pm ET
Rick Smith — Jersey City, NJ — July 26, 2006 11:06pm ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — July 27, 2006 12:59am ET
Robert Boyle — California — July 27, 2006 1:09am ET
David A Zajac — July 27, 2006 9:07am ET
Michael Pierce — Oswego, IL — July 27, 2006 9:28am ET
Joseph Tredici — Ramsey / NJ — July 27, 2006 10:18am ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — July 27, 2006 10:23am ET
William Newell — Buffalo, NY — July 27, 2006 11:42am ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — July 27, 2006 11:57am ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — July 27, 2006 12:01pm ET
Neil H. Koffler — New York, NY — July 27, 2006 12:21pm ET
Rick Smith — Jersey City, NJ — July 27, 2006 12:41pm ET
Sao Anash — Santa Barbara — July 27, 2006 3:51pm ET
Mark Mccullough — GA — July 27, 2006 3:55pm ET
James Zalenka — Pittsburgh PA — August 8, 2006 11:44am ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — August 8, 2006 12:08pm ET
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