Fine wine is limited.
Wine denomination bodies control vineyard surface areas, and their rules dictate maximum yields. The vine cycle limits production to one vintage per year. And the very act of consuming wine promotes its rarity.
Unlike a piece of art which, while rare indeed, does not have a shelf life, each bottle is an experience that lasts only for as long as you can taste it. Then it is gone forever.
And yet, we are living in an unprecedented era for fine wines. Never have they been as good as they are today; a result of modern winemaking technologies certainly, but also a twisted byproduct of our ever-warming planet. Rising temperatures allow us to make wine in places where, not so long ago, it was a struggle to ripen grapes. Even Burgundy producers will recall this phenomenon as recently as the mid-90s.
The Scarcity Principle
As wine quality has increased, so have the number of fanatics chasing after the most desirable bottles. They say one should never have too much of a good thing, but the Burgundians (and their followers) surely beg to differ. Demand has outweighed supply in the region, and this trend continues to widen the gap between the allocated and the allocationless.
Amid this madness, wine estates are (understandably) looking to take back some control – of prices, and of when their wines are consumed. Our partner, Clos de Tart, has recently announced a change in release rhythm, in a bid to encourage consumption of its best wines with more bottle age. As a result, there will be no 2021 release from their monopole this year (but rather in 2024).
Across the Atlantic, recent wildfires in California have made a tragic dent in supply of top Napa wines. The flames came close enough to vineyards in 2020 that many wineries chose not to produce wine from the vintage at all, due to the risk of smoke taint. Paul Roberts, COO of Colgin Estate, explained that the fires “posed insurmountable difficulties for winemakers in the region” – accordingly, no new wine will be released by Colgin Estate until 2024.
Counting our blessings
Beyond these two examples, producers worldwide provision for a potential hard truth, that one day they will not be able to make the same wines that they are producing today. Climate change has thus far brought us to a wine-quality apogee, but what will happen if the balance tips the other way?
Until that day comes, our mission is to procure and preserve as many of the world’s best wines as we can, assuring perfect provenance, fully documented traceability for each case in our clients’ collections, and impeccable Swiss storage.
The wines we enjoy in the meantime will simply become memories – treasures that money can’t buy.