I was skeptical about the story from the headline, and the first premise it presented, but I do agree with how it ends up (no spoilers, go listen). The premise I disagree with is this: "The first thing you should know is there’s a difference between wine that’s mass produced and sold nationally or internationally, and wine from wineries that sell locally."
I understand the concept, there's a difference between big and small, but this is not equivalent to nationally distributed and locally sold. There are plenty of excellent wineries that are nationally and even internationally distributed that don't spend a lot of money on marketing. And what's more, often times I'd rather have an inexpensive bottle of wine from a great region than an expensive bottle from an average region.
That's because, as the story mentions, it comes back to land. Grapes are what make or break a wine, and good grapes are more expensive than bad ones. The below graphic is a pretty good representation of the costs that go into a bottle of wine.
Now that's an extreme example, average prices are probably closer to $9,000/ton for cabernet and less for other grapes. But that still leaves all the other stuff that won't drastically change. The moral of the story? You get what you pay for, sort of. Sure there's marketing and sales costs that are passed onto you and I the consumer, but given all the fixed costs of producing a bottle of wine, the really cheap stuff, the $10 and under stuff, doesn't leave much room for the actual wine. There's a breaking point. In my opinion, that's $15. You've got to spend at least $15 to get a decent bottle of wine. Sure you can spend less and maybe find something worth drinking, but your chances are much less. I'm not trying to be a snob about it here, I'm just looking at the facts. To that point, you don't need to spend more than that. That is, quality IS NOT directly related to price. But don't think that every expensive bottle of wine is just trying to pull one over on you.
There's some great wine that just also happens to be expensive.
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