It’s a sign of the times. Today there’s an apparent lauding of ‘flash wealth’ and narey a critical word over such things. Certainly the linked article seems a celebration of what Stott has, and is, doing. There are, of-course, multiple perspectives to this:
Now if Don Stott had been publicly selling these (link above) bottles for charitable ends (maybe he anyway IS!), i.e. doing a Bill and Melinda, or (this week) a Mark and Priscilla, I would have simply applauded. But that’s not the case. It seems to me that this is just the next installment of the mad rush to elevate the pricing of what, for some – and I assume I’m not alone – was a daily staple, to something approaching a Louis Vuitton accessory for ever-fewer people. Sad to say, some wines have been in this bracket for some time.
There are many producers that are also uncomfortable with the back story of people who, over years, they sold lots of wine to (let’s not, however, forget the word ‘sold’), but who didn’t drink it and later went on to make large profits from it. And that will make it harder for everyone hoping to build relationships in the future. Still, Stott bought more wine than he could ever drink, so what did the producers think that he could do with all that?
If we go back almost 20 years (actually 1997), Andrew Lloyd Weber hit the headlines for doing exactly what Don Stott is doing today. The reaction was very different – and of-course the wines were mainly ‘affordable’ at that time – at least in the context of current pricing. Still, there was plenty of DRC (et-cetera) but there was a more overt negative reaction at that time. Even wine professionals were rather stuffy about it (paraphrasing) ‘It’s just the usual list of labels from the typical sources’ – at least judging by the publicity for the sale at that time.
It’s really not the same now – eh? I’m sure it will, first get worse, and then get painful, before it ever gets better, if it ever gets better…