Futures Buying & Tasting

Last year on our Sonoma trip, we had the fun and pleasure of barrel tasting at David Coffaro Winery.  I’d never barrel tasted before this trip, but I certainly made up for during that trip and since.  I’ve decided that it’s tons of fun and educational to be able to taste the wine while it’s still developing in the barrel.  At Coffaro last year we probably tasted about 10 wines in barrel (you can read about that here) and purchased a case of wine that arrived this past November.

Now, here’s the beauty of buying wine before it’s bottled: Wineries who offer this option tend to discount the wine a bit, so you can end up paying quite a lot less for a lot more wine! Last year we walked away with a case of great wine, including taxes, for $213.  This year, if they’ll let us barrel taste again, we’ll get an even better deal as I’ve joined up with Coffaro’s new club. (Hey folks at Coffaro, I’m coming by on Thursday afternoon….any chance I can barrel taste? ;) )

I know some of my wine blog buddies had a blast at barrel tasting weekend(s) in Sonoma recently and scored some excellent deals.  I’d love to make it out for barrel tasting some year so I could participate in the buying bonanza.  You should go read about their adventures here, here, here, and here.

So tell me about your experiences barrel tasting or buying futures! Good, bad, or indifferent?  I’ve noticed in the last year or so that many of the wineries that send me email (and that’s quite a few….) have been offering futures. It’s not something I had picked up on before, so it has me thinking.  Would you buy futures without tasting the wine? Being on the East Coast, it’s not really all that practical for me to be able to go to the wineries to taste and decide, so I’m torn as to whether buying sight taste unseen is a good move for me. I suppose if it’s a winery I’ve been familiar with over the years it wouldn’t be such a risk, one would hope.

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2 Responses

  1. Having bought a number of futures (both professionally and personally) over the last dozen years or so, I think that the most significant problem with futures is the paradox of experiential expectation. That is to say that even those of us who have professional palates are influenced slightly by the experience when we taste. Once you have made an investment in the wine, even if it comes at a discount, and through the prism of fond memories, it becomes more difficult to be fully objective in evaluation.

  2. That’s fair enough refugee….though I am considering buying futures this year without ever tasting them just to take advantage of the deals. Though I am swayed by the fact of good experiences with the various wineries in the past.

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