Buying wine #2

Week two of wine acquisition strategies:

Strategy Three: Direct access. The Supreme Court’s Granholm v. Heald ruling permits winery-to-consumer deliveries. This shockingly sane episode in U.S. alcohol regulation miasma made winery-to-you sales more than a $3 billion industry.

Direct access particularly benefits smaller, family wineries. They keep more of the bottle price. Selling directly to consumers allows them to recruit people into their wine clubs, building continuity and stability. It is such a simple, beneficial situation it is amazing politicians allowed it to happen. But, hey, a broken clock is correct twice a day.

You usually hook up with a winery’s direct-to-you program by visiting their tasting room, enjoying their elixir, and signing up in the warm glow of a magical day. But if you enjoy a wine and have never visited the winery, please consider visiting their website and investigating direct-to-you purchases.

Last week, I extolled the virtues of supporting your local, quality wine store. Buying directly from a winery falls in the same category of putting your wine money where it does the most good.

Strategy Four: Auction. Buying from the winery puts your dollars in the purple-stained hands of folks who actually toil in vineyards and schlep in wineries. Buying wine at an auction announces you have entered the rarified world of vino noblesse. Except, it is not that hoity-toity.

Yes, there are wine auctions where a single bottle of 1945 Romanée-Conti sells for a half-million dollars. But, but at the same auction there likely are lots selling for a couple of hundred dollars. These are offered by wine hoarders—excuse me, collectors—who need to clear space in their cellar or switch from bottles of liquids to financial liquidity. The plus here is bottles likely are good and ready to drink—somebody already did the patient aging. Flap your bidding paddle. Run with the big dogs.

Tasting notes:

• Beringer Bros. Bourbon Barrel Aged Chardonnay 2016: Rich; restrained, effective use of bourbon barrel aging enhances wine, makes it more substantial rather than wine fad. $17 Link to my review

• Castoro Cellars Zinfusion Reserve, Paso Robles 2015: Classically rich, juicy-fruity, high alcohol, fun to drink, delicious. $22-24 Link to my review

• Siduri Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2017: Full of rich red fruit flavor. Good complexity, depth for a pinot in at this price. #33-35 Link to my review

Last round: The future, the present, and the past walked into a wine bar. Things got tense.