Different Tiered Vinos from same Winery

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Senior Member
Apr 21, 2021
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As I continue my home vintner education & growth I'm curious about what differences there are in a particular style wine made by the same winery but marketed and priced at much different tiers.

This exercise was prompted by Caymus and their Cabs. Their flagship Caymus Cab retails for roughly $100/bottle and is highly rated. They now have their Bonanza Cab which retails for roughly $20/bottle - and is also highly rated.

So what's the difference between the two when it comes their processes grapes thru bottling? (and is there anything we home vintners can learn from this when crafting our own wines?)

(I can guess - grape quality, aging time, aging style (oak vs stainless), etc --- but would like to hear what others have to say on this!)

Can't speak directly to Caymus, but a Winery I know very well, sells two different labels one is $35-50/bottle, other is$10-20. Major difference is the more expensive one spends time in an oak barrel, up to 18 months. The less expensive one gets oak adjuncts in a stainless tank. I'm sure there are other differences, but that is the major one.
(I can guess - grape quality, aging time, aging style (oak vs stainless), etc --- but would like to hear what others have to say on this!)
More likely it's winery arrogance and consumer stupidity.

Yeah, that's harsh, VERY harsh. Not necessarily unfounded, but harsh. 🤣

I see local wineries selling wines at ridiculous prices, especially considering that I can buy better wines at 1/2 to 1/3 the price. Dang! I can make better wine at 1/5 the price.

I may be wrong -- is this arrogance, or simply wise marketing on the part of the wineries? I'm not a customer at those prices, but if they have a market willing to pay, is it arrogance or good marketing?

I've noted in recent threads that I was at a winery that had live music, where sub-standard wines were enthusiastically purchased at $24 to $28 USD per bottle.

This relates back to a comment I made quite a while ago about not equating value and price. Is Caymus' flagship 5 times better than it's regular wine?
When we went on a couple of winery tours this past October, the difference in the tiered wines were as indicated above. Those priced higher were limited runs of a varietal or blend, a low volume of a run, a run with grapes from one location versus several locations, barrel aging, and using free-run over a pressed run. The rest of the things seem gimmicky to me but apparently work.
I can see where barrel aging increases cost as you have to keep topping the barrel which means more wine to make a given amount as well as the labor and also just storing it instead of selling it. My ten gallon barrels give the angels almost a bottle every month .and the concentration it produces is well worth it. i agree with winemaker81, my wine is ok , but as good as or better than any wine I tasted on my trip to California.