November 25, 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley vs Sonoma

dragon's leaf vineyards for saleThe grape growing areas of Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley are similar.  They both run from the South Coast to the North, and they both benefit from the hills, rain and historical care given to the vines placed in their care.  So it’s not surprising that these unique areas (AVA’s), which are IDEAL for growing the some of the World’s Finest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, compete for the title of “favorite” all the time!

Napa has long been considered the favorite, and they’ve been working for decades to create wines that grow in value as they age, with some success.  The 2011 season is considered by some one of the best years yet – granted there were fewer grapes, but higher quality.

Recently though, James Laube, one of the most Internationally acclaimed Wine Experts wrote this about a Sonoma Valley Cabernet:

“Rich, savory and full-bodied, showing direct, potent young Cabernet flavors built around blackberry and dark berry fruit, with touches of spice, black licorice, mineral and toasty wood. Very impressive for its purity, finesse and graceful finish. Best from 2012 through 2022. 2,450 cases made.” –JL

The region is comparable to French Bordeaux grapes, and growing season, and the Beringer Knights Valley wine (he was referring to) does mirror these flavors gracefully.  The price: $45, with 3,600 cases made. It’s the best Beringer Knights Valley wine I can recall and one of winemaker Laurie Hook’s best efforts

In addition to Beringer’s Cabernet, Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines” list for 2011 includes HALL as #2 in it’s list of the top 20 wines! (and the FIRST one is NOT from Napa!)

“With a successful real-estate empire, Craig and Kathryn Hall didn’t take any shortcuts with Hall estate, which comprises several hundred acres in vines spread over six vineyards in Napa Valley. The 2008 Kathryn Hall Cabernet is a blend from four of the sites. Winemaker Steve Leveque added a splash of Merlot to round out the texture and heighten the aromatics. The wine captures the essence of Napa Cabernet yet is distinguished from other great 2008 Cabs by its seamless texture, wonderful focus, purity of flavor and persistent finish.” -Wine Spectator, November 15, 2011

What does this mean for clients interested in purchasing a vineyard with potential ROI?  Despite  current U.S. economic conditions, the wine industry is showing signs of optimism.  Bulk wine market inventories have come into balance and in some cases there is a shortage.  Grape prices are on the rise.  2011 Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are virtually, entirely committed.

sonoma_county_vineyard_salesFor the past many years, there’s been a direct correlation between the prices / demand for grapes – and the prices / demand for vineyards.   (the adjacent chart reflects the sales price for land SUITABLE for a Vineyard, not planted). The tightening of inventories will leads to increasing vineyard prices.  Also, this optimism has caused winery owners to take a strengthening position regarding thee perceived value of their winery assets.

When assessing a property, I look at the cost of operations over the last 3 years, the tonnage produced, the Vinter, the WineMaker and how it is being marketed… we also look at the weather in that Appellation, and what is being produced from that area.

We also look at the soil, and the quality / life of the vinesIn many ways, it is important to note that you are not just purchasing real estate when you buy a Vineyard, you are buying a business.

What are we doing to identify winery properties without brands and have the potential to produce $100/btl wines?  We are networking throughout the Napa Valley to source potential wineries that may be for sale.  These properties are not easy to find, so we ask for your patience.  If you are interested in purchasing a Premium Winery in the Sonoma/Napa Region call Mark Stornetta.

Looking for more information on which area of Sonoma or Napa might be the perfect place to grow grapes and create your dream of owning  a Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard?  I can help with that too!

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