With the offer for their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon lineup Schrader announced a price increase of $50 per bottle bringing the cost per bottle before shipping and handling to $225. The increase was surprising as Schrader has alway promoted their commitment to low prices vis a vis other sought after Napa Valley Cabernets.
I don’t fault Schrader for the price increase. Comparable wines from the likes of Colgin, Araujo and Harlan are substantially more expensive. What bothers me about this, is the swift 30% price increase. I’d have preferred a gradual rise in prices over many years without the mantra of low prices for mailing members that seemed to be the calling card of Schrader.
I have no doubt that the wines will sell out even at the new price. That being said I think there is anecdotal evidence that they offered wine to a large portion of their waiting list. The coolest thing about Schrader in years past was that the wine competed with Napa’s best at a fraction of the price. That made it relevant in the wine circles I travel in whereas wines like the aforementioned Colgin, Araujo and Harlan are rarely ever seen. With another price increase this might be the fate of Schrader as well.
As Schrader was raising prices they also instituted a policy that mailing list members would be removed from the list for flipping the wines. Screaming Eagle has been doing this as well going back many years.
Ultimately I decided to pass on my allocation. I have enough Schrader in the cellar to get through the next decade. I also have no shortage of access to Cabernet made by Thomas Rivers Brown including Outpost and Rivers-Marie. These wines may not have the pedigree of Beckstoffer Vineyard, from which Schrader is sourced, but TRB’s signature is all over them. Given the choice I’ll side with an Outpost Cabernet at $85 and an Outpost True Vineyard Cabernet at $125 over a single bottle of Schrader at the new price of $225. In fact I’ll even have $15 left over to invest in Powerball tickets!
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