Life is better on the corner, the place where great wines meet reasonable prices!




Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Your Spring 2009 wine allocation is ready!

Ahh yes, Springtime is in the air in Sunny So-Cal! My apologies in advance for such a glib sentiment! That said, many of the wineries around the state here in California and elsewhere are getting ready to ship out the the class of 2007. Some of course still may have a few 2006 hanging around but for the most part the push is on to get the "class of 2007" out of the barrels and into your homes, cellars and your empty wine glass.
Are you excited, scared, or loathing with anticipation? Have you ever run into the allocation list? Some of the more "cult" wines or boutique wineries have what they call allocation lists. Possibly meaning two things, you can either buy all the wine you can carry whilst (love that word) in the tasting room or you can sign up to be a waiting list club member (which in the future will give you purchasing privileges online in the spring most often). Examples of wineries of which I am familiar with who have what I call "heavy allocation models" are; Sea Smoke, Foxen, L'Aventure, Turly and Kosta Browne to name a few. (There are many more) There are some which are so heavily allocated and their production so limited that they have no tasting room, you can only purchase at the time of allocation (and you have a set limit) and there is a long waiting list to have the privilege of purchasing their wines.

Now some of you may have no freaking idea what I am taking about and wonder geez what is all the fuss about anyway?? For those of you in this category who are saying "allocation" what is that and why do I care? Think of it this way you may be developing the taste for higher caliber wines (not your everyday quaffer) which are not main stream in terms of mass availability and with above average quality. Please pay attention because the waiting time on these lists average from a couple of years to forever so get on the list now and by the time you are ready to move up to some of the higher caliber wines you will be in line to get the wine you may be craving.

But if your happy where you are purchasing wines from your local Bevmo, Trader Joes or a local winery who has no such allocation list, great enjoy! If you are a member of a winery with an allocation model like the one I described are you planning to purchase this year? Because some places will throw you off the list if you fail to make a purchase or demote you to a lower level and others have a blanket purchase of once a year in which you agree in advance to purchase a certain number each year.

What to do, what to do? For me I am just purchasing the minimum to stay in the good standing and curtailing my weekly wine consumption. (But not my wine tasting schedule) I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and impressions on the subject?

But what are some of the benefits of being on a wineries allocation list? Well I am glad you asked, because there are a few. First there is the exclusivity part of it, you can drink wine which many folks can only read about. Second, the price you pay for the wine is considerably cheaper than purchasing it retail, because some folks on these lists are retailers who mark up these elusive labels considerably! Case in point, check out the search results for the Sea Smoke Botella 2006 I purchased for $40.00, it more than double at these places.
Third, because some of the distribution to restaurants you may come across one of these bottles on a night out and if you acted smartly with some BYOB you have saved about a 400% markup on that exclusive bottle (even with the corkage) and can use that savings to lavish upon your palate a delightful meal. Until next time Cheers everyone!

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