WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHEAP BOTTLE AND AN EXPENSIVE ONE?
In this guide we would like to highlight the elements that influence the final price of a bottle, making a bottle cheaper or more expensive than another one.
When we compare two cars there are no doubts about price and value. But what happens when we compare two wines? It often happens that we compare two bottles of the same wine, same grape, same country etc.
The producing cost of a wine bottle depends from a variety of factors, listed below.
Wine is an agricultural product, produced by grapes. These are subjected to climate and weather conditions that affect quantity and quality. Every year differs from the one before. Hail, floods, frosts can cause dramatic effects. However the production cost does not change. Depending on the yield, winemakers need to adjust the grape price to cover their costs.
Grape growing techniques
Taking care of the vineyard is an extremely important activity and depending on the result that wine producers want to gain, costs vary. Some wine makers aim to high yields (obtained with minimal pruning and maximum mechanization) reducing costs but also grapes quality. Others aim to the best quality fruits (pruning and controlling bunches growth) which implies labour costs but increasing final quality.
Like for whiskey, the time of maturation increases the cost of the wine due to the space this occupies in the winery and the time spent on this process, sometimes for months, sometimes for years.
Every type of wine deserves its proper bottle. Winemakers tend to invest in heavy bottles, good quality corks and a good label paper when the content is valuable. Screw caps, light bottles etc. are often associated to wines produced for competing on supermarkets or in big distributions.
Our idea is that the more renown is a bottle, higher is the marketing cost included in the price. Think to any famous brand. This does not always occur. Some wines are famous because they have a good marketing, other are less famous but expensive because they have a specific method of production, a specific growing area and winemakers are a limited number. These aspects rise the bottle price. We should distrust when we find the price of a particular bottle too low in respect to the average of the same type. We are aware of fake Amarone (a good and expensive Italian wine) found at a surprising low price in a well known international supermarket. Ask more information to your wine supplier on what you are buying. We are always happy to help you and share our experience and passion.
Territory & Regulations
The territory and the wineries can give an idea on the qualitative expectations of a wine. There are area in Italy where you can grow a type of grape rather than another one. Wine makers need to respect the regulations containing the rules to preserve the territory, density of vineyards, method of harvesting, fermentation, maturation, etc. In Italy we have three terms giving a warranty on where the grapes come from and their quality: IGT, DOC and DOCG (higher level). This indications influence the final price of a bottle. In Europe each country has its own traditional terms. In the New World, countries have no such limitations about wine making. This is the reason why many times, persons coming from an old-fashioned wine producing country, think that New World wines are not comparable to Old World ones.
Critique & Wine Experts
Today with media and internet, critiques, wine experts and wine writers play an important role on the final price of a wine. How many of you are more confident in buying a wine if it has a good review or an high score from a wine writer? An American professor Robert T. Hodgson did a study on how much the wine experts are expert. How can an human substitute an instrument of measure? Not even an architect can tell how tall is a building without a measuring tape! In some cases the conclusion was a surprise. The suggestion is to use their opinions as an advice, not a result.