Random Musings

It’s Just Wine

I frequent WineBerserkers which is site aptly described by its name. I’ve met good friends there and have had mostly positive experiences but every now and then the site can be somewhat toxic. Last week there was a post about the sale of Limerick Lane Vineyard and winery (more on this later). Half way through the thread someone took the time to point out that they had wrote a letter to Limerick Lane in response to their pricing in the Spring mailer. Specifically this person said to Limerick Lane that Carlisle and Bedrock represented better values and because of that he was no longer buying the Limerick Lane wines. This person also implied that Limerick Lane did themselves a disservice when they lowered prices on their Russian River Valley Zinfandel to $20 in order to move product during the pandemic. Finally, the author compared Limerick Lane pricing to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Following this post many WineBerserkers piled on Limerick Lane echoing the authors displeasure with Limerick Lane pricing. I rarely weigh in on matters like this but I felt compelled to call out some points made by the author. First off, comparing Limerick Lane Zinfandel pricing to Napa Cabernet pricing is just stupid. Secondly, to imply that Limerick Lane should have lower prices because they moved product at a lower price point during the pandemic (because they lost restaurant distribution) flat out sucks.

Finally who actually takes the time to write a letter to a winery complaining about prices? Clearly someone with way too much time on their hands. There have been any number of wines I have stopped purchasing over the years because pricing in my mind was too high. It never occurred to me that I should write a letter to Fred Schrader to let him know I had moved on to other Napa Cabs like Rivers-Marie and Outpost.

Finally I don’t think any of us should criticize a winery for their prices. None of us know what Jake Bilbro paid to purchase Limerick Lane and how he wrote his business plan to support a family owned operation. I just assume he priced the wine as fairly as possible for both himself and his customers.

At the end of the day if you no longer purchase a wine because you are uncomfortable with the pricing that is your prerogative. Please don’t feel compelled to complain about said wineries pricing every time you get a chance. Move on and enjoy the hobby. After all, it’s just wine.

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9 thoughts on “It’s Just Wine

  1. Hope you’re well buddy! You know you’re my guy and that we are typically aligned on most topics (other than how long you should age your zins, ha!), but since I’ve been active on the WB thread I wanted to quickly comment on this as well. I completely agree with you that the Napa cab comment was irrelevant and that the mention of pandemic pricing was uncalled for. That said, I actually think the email that someone sent back to LL from the cold solicitation that they received (it was an email not a letter) should be a positive/helpful thing for Jake and his team. It was honest, candid consumer feedback, which is incredibly valuable for any company to receive. Im always stressing the importance of asking for feedback to my team, so ideally that email and the resounding sentiment from the WB thread are data points that the LL team is open to receiving, and something that they can take into account for the future.

    I’d also add that people discussing how the pricing of a wine is pretty far out of line in comparison to prodcuers making comparable wines quality-wise from the same vineyards is completely fair game on a wine board. I mean….that’s kinda the point of them, right? To discuss all things wine ;) And the reason that LL comes up once in a while is because most of us really enjoy the wines and would love to continue purchasing if it wasn’t for the hefty price increases realized over the past handful of years. Which again, are pretty clear outliers vs. Comparable wines. And of course you’re correct that we don’t know the details of Jake’s business and why he has increased his prices so substantially….but there’s no denying that they are priced much higher than the rest of the market.

    I also realize that you’ve got at least somewhat of a personal relationship with Jake so hopefully my comments don’t come across too negatively…..but i wanted to at least provide my quick $0.02 from here in the cheap seats ;)

    Cheers bud!

    1. Let me ask you a question Rich. Let’s use Kosta Browne as an example. There are literally people on WineBerserkers who will make the point that they dropped the Kosta Brown list because prices went up too much on just about every single post about Kosta Brown. At what point is it too much? I don’t get the need to do this.

      1. I hear you buddy. At some point it can feel like beating a dead horse. I don’t think the LL convos have reached KB territory but your point is well taken. Plus….KB is the ultimate ‘haters’ wine, because the flavor profile is polarizing in the pinot world and REALLY seems to trigger the burg-heads, ha!

        I hope you have a great weekend my friend!

  2. I agree about the pricing. I still think their zin is a good value. Some of the guys on WB are too full of themselves.

  3. “First off, comparing Limerick Lane Zinfandel pricing to Napa Cabernet pricing is just stupid. Secondly, to imply that Limerick Lane should have lower prices because they moved product at a lower price point during the pandemic (because they lost restaurant distribution) flat out sucks.”

    If you’re trying to raise the quality level of the discussion, these are hardly well reasoned, well presented arguments. I think what I find most troubling is the use of language – one point is “stupid”, the other “sucks”. Having read your articles for some time now, I know what a compelling and accomplished writer you can be. Perhaps you let your emotions get ahead or your writing skill on this one, but this sounds more like a WB post than one of your articles.

    FWIW, I also stopped purchasing LL wines because of the price disparity between what they were asking and the price of comparable wines. I don’t feel that letting the winery know of such a decision is unjustified in this case, although I agree with you that some of the arguments used were irrelevant – I actually agree with you that the Napa and Pandemic pricing issues were terrible arguments. They were also completely unnecessary, as the simple fact of the pricing, regardless of reason, is the only necessary and relevant factor.

    In any case, the sale of LL is another sad loss, and hopefully Jake does well in his future endeavors.

    1. Thanks for the constructive criticism. I do know that beyond his post yesterday Jake stopped posting to WineBerserkers because of the tone of many of the users. That is unfortunate. The point I am making is the WineBerserker who wrote this email to Limerick Lane was applauded (which blows my mind) all the while no one bothered to point out the flaws in his argument.

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