It looks like Wine Cask’s Santa Barbara County wine futures program is done, at least for this year.
We’ve been following the behind-the-scenes developments for this year’s event for weeks now.
We’ve tasted and rated barrel samples from this program for several years now and during that period there have been some excellent new wine discoveries, as well as some good deals on discounted wines. When you buy wine futures you pay a discounted price, usually a $5 to $10 a bottle discount with Santa Barbara futures, and secure the wines for future delivery, usually within a year or two.
Earlier this year we received a copy of the 2009 futures catalog. But since then several key wineries decided not to participate, and it’s unclear whether the catalog was even printed or distributed.
That made me nervous on two counts: It appeared that the event was on shaky grounds with new management, and, more important, I didn’t feel comfortable recommending anyone buy futures in this economy. It’s far wiser to focus on what is currently in the market from Santa Barbara rather than spend on wines that might be less expensive in a year.
The owner of Wine Cask, a wine shop and Grand-Award winning restaurant, has walked away from the popular downtown Santa Barbara business amid reports that he may have been evicted.
As one reader told me this morning, "Tuesday night, after business, [owner Bernard Rosenson apparently] took everything out and didn’t tell anyone. All of the wine in the restaurant [was taken along with] all the furniture. Everything was moved. If you walked in today it’s empty."
Many Santa Barbara vintners are disappointed in the collapse of this program, since it was a unique sale and tasting event that received national coverage.
But vintners are holding out hope that another event can be put into place that showcases their young wines and offers consumers a chance to both taste the wines and perhaps buy a few.