We Made Too Much Wine. Now what?
Sometimes you have to discount good wine. And we’re ok with that.
INSIDER | MAY 17, 2022
Wine is a funny product. It’s a fermented grape juice but somehow it qualifies for a different set of rules. There’s this belief in the wine world that wine doesn’t go on sale, and discounts undermine the value of the brand. I can’t think of any other retail industry or sector that doesn’t have inventory go on sale at the end of the season—except maybe some high-end fashion brands that rely on total scarcity.
The truth is that wine does go on sale, but usually in the form of case discounts or being flushed to different outlet markets. It rarely gets outright discounted at the source. If you’ve been following along with us at all, you know we’re pretty irreverent when it comes to the idea of following norms. That’s why we’ve launched our sale bin.
The beginning of our metamorphosis from an export-focused winery to the beginnings of who we are becoming today, all started in 2019. Even though we’ve been producing wine in Napa since 2012, it finally felt like we were really nesting— setting down real roots and beginning to engage with the valley.
Excitement, enthusiasm, anxiety and fear, are the feelings I would use to characterize that year. We were considering logo designs, label artwork and asking ourselves the all important question of “who are we?”. Besides digging deep to understand our identity, we were also making decisions about which varieties to make and how much.
In the spring of 2019, we were immersed in big dreams and lofty goals—our tasting room would open in the summer of 2020 and our wines would fly off the shelves. After all, my mantra at the time was if you build it, they will come and with the tasting room well underway, this all seemed reasonable. Unfortunately, predicting demand without historical data is like pulling numbers from the sky and wishing a bit on the stars.
We all know how 2020 turned out with the pandemic and the fires.
With the pandemic, folks were home and alcohol consumption may have gone up for big brands and existing brands, but our little known brand was just a baby. It’s been a couple years now and I still feel like we spend a lot of effort raising our arms up and waving “hey look over here, we’re here!” Everything takes time but we overshot the mark and our 2019 crush was simply too big. We didn’t predict the global pandemic and so as a nearly anonymous new brand, we made too much wine.
When the horrific fires erupted in 2020, they started earlier in the harvest season than ever before and raged for over a month. The LNU lightning complex fires burned from August 17, 2020 to October 2, 2020. It was in September of that year that the Bay Area awoke to the feeling of armageddon with an eerie orange sky.
At that time, due to COVID, we could only host guests outside for tastings but with the raging fires, the air was unsafe to breathe. We were closed more days than we were open. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful we were safe, but when it came to selling the many wines we made when our dreams were lofty, it simply wasn’t possible.
With the fires, also came the rejection of smoke tainted fruit. We didn’t produce most of the fruit we had contracted for, which gave us a reprieve on most of what we made, except for our early season whites, which we brought in before the fires. With two vintages looming over our heads and no place to sell the wine, it became crystal clear, we made too much wine.
The Good News!
So what does this mean for you? Well, we’ve got a whole lotta wine and we need to move on to the next vintages. Our solution? A sale bin.
Is the Wine Still Good?
Being “current vintage” is perceived as essential for some varieties, even though it’s not necessarily reflective of the wine itself. Some wines will taste fine over the next year, even whites and rosés! Sometimes age helps a wine really settle into its own. But the market calls for current vintages and so, instead of dumping the wine down the drain (which for a small business is catastrophic), we’ve put some of our wines on sale for you to enjoy at a screamin’ deal.
So, yah. We simply made too much. Scope out our perfectly delicious and totally discounted bottles.