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Jim Grow

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High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Jim Grow » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:20 pm

Bored on a cold and snowy Sunday so was wondering what wine producer most qualifies as making vast amounts of ultra-high quality wine? My guess (although I have never had any) is Krug Champagne. Moet&Chandon also makes lots of Dom Perignon but also makes lots and lots of mid-quality Champagne. Production figures for many Champagne houses are not usually disclosed but I suspect that Krug produces at least 100K cases/year. What do youall think? Bored in the Hocking Hills.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by David M. Bueker » Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:29 pm

The production of Dom Perignon dwarfs Krug.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Jim Grow » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:29 pm

True but ALL Champagne made by Krug is exceptional if what I read is true. That cannot be said for Moet & Chandon.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by David M. Bueker » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:37 pm

True, but Dom Perignon is set up as essentially a separate company. The teams are not shared in any way.

Anyway, Dom makes about 5 million bottles per vintage. Krug only makes 500K bottles per year in total. Bollinger is about 5X the size of Krug, and excellent across the board.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Jim Grow » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:15 pm

Thanks for the info. I'm learning something today.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Robin Garr » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:10 pm

Getting away from Champagne producers, I think Jim's underlying question is fascinating. Of course there are mass producers who make excellent wines, but I think a lot of us instinctively feel that there's some relationship between smaller producers and higher quality. For me, that connects to corporate bean-counting, stockholders, and the quarterly balance sheet. So the idea of very large producers who make nothing but great wine is fascinating to me, particularly when we limit it further by eliminating from the competition producers that also make lesser, more forgettable wines. Krug seems like a natural, even if they do make "only" 500K bottles. I'm not sure there are many others. much less any qualifying producer who makes significantly more wine. Anyone?
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Steve Slatcher » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:57 pm

The classed growths of Bordeaux are not exactly artisanal operations.

Several years ago on average Lafite released around 22,000 cases (198,000 li) of its first wine per annum, and 24,000 cases (216,000 li) of its second. That is the highest production volume for the first growths, but there are a number of chateaux a bit further down the league that have similarly large numbers.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by David M. Bueker » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:46 pm

Exactly. Many of the Bordeaux make very large quantities of excellent wine, year after year.

Robin, big money, even corporate money, brings resources. That allows the purchase of good vineyards, and high quality facilities. Those things are very helpful in making great wine.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Robin Garr » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:13 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Robin, big money, even corporate money, brings resources. That allows the purchase of good vineyards, and high quality facilities. Those things are very helpful in making great wine.

No question. It also has the potential to bring a bean-counter, quarterly balance-sheet mentality in many industries, but certainly luxury goods like high-end wines may be able to push back against that. Sometimes.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Jim Grow » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:40 pm

I lost my first response so I'll start over. Bordeaux is indeed artisanal in size and quality (compared to Dom for example) because they produce at moderate numbers, less than 100K cases, and also make a second wine that usually garners scores from multiple wine critics in the low 90's. I was looking for the single greatest wine producer fitting my criteria and it now looks like it is between Krug, Dom and Bollinger to fulfill that lofty spot. Any other producers would be welcome contestants. Germany, Cal. Spain, Italy and anywhere else are not likely contenders as they either make too little wine or also make wine of lesser acclaim!
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by David M. Bueker » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:57 pm

Not much fun having the discussion if only one answer is acceptable to you.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Rahsaan » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:02 am

Robin Garr wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Robin, big money, even corporate money, brings resources. That allows the purchase of good vineyards, and high quality facilities. Those things are very helpful in making great wine.

No question. It also has the potential to bring a bean-counter, quarterly balance-sheet mentality in many industries, but certainly luxury goods like high-end wines may be able to push back against that. Sometimes.


Not sure what you mean by bean-counting. Lots of small producers are desperate to count their beans so they can survive and keep eating. They can't float lost profits from bad vintages and they can't afford to invest in the same high quality processes from year to year because they need to keep the money flowing on a regular basis.

More resources means the ability to think longer term about the investment. And I'm not sure anyone invests in wine for a quarterly return on money?

That said, of course I too focus on smaller producers.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Robin Garr » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:34 am

Rahsaan wrote: And I'm not sure anyone invests in wine for a quarterly return on money?

I'd like to be a fly on the wall at high-level budget meetings at LVMH, just to pick one example. I'm sure the quality forces put up a fight, but when the CFO starts yelling about "fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders," mysterious forces can come into play.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Dale Williams » Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:45 am

LMVH owns Krug as well as DP and M&C. If you exclude DP (which is now set up separately from M&C in LMVH corporate structure and as David says a different team) shouldn't you exclude Krug? :)

It's also hard to say what is "high quality". I don't happen to be a Krug fan, it's not stylistically my favorite.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Robin Garr » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:00 pm

Dale Williams wrote:LMVH owns Krug as well as DP and M&C. If you exclude DP (which is now set up separately from M&C in LMVH corporate structure and as David says a different team) shouldn't you exclude Krug? :)

It's also hard to say what is "high quality". I don't happen to be a Krug fan, it's not stylistically my favorite.

Dale, I just pulled LVMH out of my hip pocket, not actually pointing to them as a firm that adheres to the quarterly balance sheet but to point out that a lot of major corporations do. I like Krug quite well, but that's easy for me to say since I've had the occasion to taste it maybe twice in my life. Most memorably over a one-to-one brunch at the Plaza with Rémy Krug in his best make-the-media-happy mode. That was fun, but I don't believe it qualifies as a blind tasting. ;)
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by David M. Bueker » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:07 pm

The level of cynicism, even in the face of obvious quality, is appalling.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Tim York » Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:01 pm

My guess is that the accountants in LVMH, a group dedicated to luxury, are more orientated towards optimisation of selling prices than towards cheeseparing about costs. I can't think of any wineries which have become disappointing in quality after their takeover but the prices tend to rise outside my range.

A négociant like Guigal shows excellent quality over a large range, although I don't care for the style of his prestige LaLas, too oaky as well as too expensive.
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by Steve Slatcher » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:41 am

Tim, I think you are right that the emphasis is on keeping the prices high. The image of spending on "high quality" production (effective or not) is all part of the marketing, e.g. fancy new cellars, with all the barriques neatly lined up with bands of wine stains to make a nice pattern.

Still though, it would be interesting to listen in to discussions on cost items less visible to media and customers. Me? A cynic? :)
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Re: High Quality & High Quanity Wine ?

by David M. Bueker » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:33 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:Tim, I think you are right that the emphasis is on keeping the prices high. The image of spending on "high quality" production (effective or not) is all part of the marketing, e.g. fancy new cellars, with all the barriques neatly lined up with bands of wine stains to make a nice pattern.

Still though, it would be interesting to listen in to discussions on cost items less visible to media and customers. Me? A cynic? :)


Of course if you are talking about those cellars and artfully arranged barriques, then you are at the top Chateaux of Bordeaux, a group of wineries that were enabled by forces prior to corporate ownership. The en primeur campaigns and then eventually Parker scores brought in money, then more money, then even more money.
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