Wine prices in Temecula?

We did a Groupon tour at Miramonte yesterday and also stopped for a tasting at Palumbo. Three of the five wines we tasted at Palumbo were really pretty good. Not so much at Miramonte. Haven’t tasted there in maybe two years and were really a bit shocked at the bottle prices at both places.

Palumbo’s better Reds were $52! Miramonte has a nice crisp rosé we liked but it was $25. For a rosé from Temecula?? Miramonte reds reached $45. Just seemed like these guys are hitting price points that aren’t justified unless they’re really so busy with people willing to pay that… must be so I guess. I could certainly do much better at retail almost anywhere. (Especially disappointing because Palumbo’s Cab was really very good).

Rhonely? Anyone? Is this just what’s resulted from the success of tasting in the area or is their cost structure increasing as they improve quality. One family member told me they now spend lots more on barrels and such, but that winery owns its own vineyards, so how much could that really increase costs? Really disappointed that they’re now out of my range.

Wineries commonly sell everything at list price, since they don’t want to compete with their wholesale customers. So if the wine is available anywhere else, the winery might be the most expensive place to buy it.

Pricing at wineries with little or no retail distribution are in my observation often way out of line with the market. I’m not sure how such wineries survive. Some don’t, maybe the others are owned by rich people who don’t care.

Robert, I understand all of that. This is about the sharp increase in prices in a generally mediocre AVA and whether that’s just about ‘because they can’ or something more substantive. I’m guessing ‘because they can’, but the family member at the winery was trying to justify it based on quality improvements that cost more.

I would guess that less than 10% of the wine produced at Temecula wineries is available at retail anywhere else. Except for Callaway and Wilson Creek there’s little wholesale distribution at all.

Presumably they’re charging what they think they can get. Wine Spectator gave Palumbo’s Estate Cabernet and Meritage 90 points, so maybe they can, though with 15.8% alcohol and a lot of new oak, not from me.

Both wines were quite good, but Palumbo has been a Temecula standout for a long time. The price increases were pretty shocking. One other standout, Doffo, was getting $60 three or four years ago so I guess others followed suit. I guess it is what it is, and at least those two are good. But $25 for a rosé at Miramonte was a bit outrageous.

Since Rhonely seems to know quite a bit about things wine in that area I thought I’d reach out.

If the cheapest wine is $25 instead of $15, and it doesn’t cut the number of bottles sold much, that’s more revenue for the winery.

I’m a bit lost as to why you’d think that needs to be said.

You’re the one who was puzzled.

Groupon usually means a failing business.

Or maybe a business that’s charging $25 for a $15 rosé can better afford to discount winery tours and tastings to draw in more people? There were around 30 people there at 3:00 on a Thursday with the temperature over 100°. Most did not take the discounted tour.

It’s a weird business. How can California have over 3,500 wineries? If I visit one at random just because I happen to be passing by, typically I think few if any of the wines are good, and the ones that are cost at least twice as much as I’d expect them to in a store.

Well, in an area like Temecula it seems to be more about hordes of people showing up get a buzz on. Limos and party buses abound. Bachelorette parties are the norm. So the wine quality doesn’t seem to be of primary importance.

Palumbo makes some of the best wine in the AVA so my reaction to their pricing was disappointment. At Miramonte it was more amazement.

Sounds kind of like Lodi.

What’s really interesting to me from that article is that, of the four wineries listed as purchasing the equipment to analyze the wine, three are always on my list of the best wineries in the AVA and I’m not familiar with the fourth. I’m thinking that suggests that the better producers there are trying to separate themselves from the herd.

That said, I still have trouble with a $50+ price tag on any wine from Temecula.

1 Like