Thursday, September 17, 2009


One of the most eye opening wine conversations I've had this year was with Ashton Hills head man Stephen George during a recent vertical tasting.

When sipping samples of his Reserve Pinot Noir, Stephen informed me that in a perfect world the price of his flagship wine should be $30, which is what he believed to be its worth, value and production cost (it's $60 at cellar door but $75 at retail outlets). The other $30 he charges just to cover employee wages.

While on the subject of wine prices I asked Stephen how he manages to keep the price of his own wines at cellar door always below retail (a practice I believe more wineries should implement). Simple, he said. The rest of his response ran something like this (this isn't a direct quotation); "I don't cut deals. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, or whether you're buying 1 bottle, 2 bottles, 12 or 212, the price I charge for my wine remains the same. The $60 you pay for my Reserve Pinot Noir is the same $60 the shops pay me. No deals. No bulk discounts."

Such a straight forward, no nonsense outlook on matters makes all of Ashton Hills loyal customers feel like V.I.P.'s. It also allows Stephen George to concentrate on what's most important to him and his customers; winemaking.

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