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Perhaps Montelena is just cutting a profit level out of the system, and will keep the futures program thru the Chateau. If so, it may be a very smart move, maximizing the profit for Chateau Montelena!

As for me, I'm tired of continuing increased prices from places like Hobbs. $265 a bottle for Hobbs Beckstoffer is outrageous, and I'll take 4 bottles of Montelena to one of Hobbs Beckstoffer. However, if Montelena is cutting a level and increasing prices, then---they can expect a big fallout.
My guess is they'll continue the futures program at a slightly increased price and increase their profit.

The problem is they'll piss off retailers who will be left with only the option of selling it retail for $125/bottle. My guess is retailers havn't been too upset with the futures program to date since they were able to actually make money off of it as well.

In most businesses when the middle man gets cut out, the middle man gets mad and it wouldn't surprise me if retailers make their feelings know in one way or another.
In order for Montelena to offer futures through retailers, they had to sell futures at FOB and/or wholesale prices. This is not a good business plan, and I'm surprised it took the Barretts almost 10 years to realize this.

Then again, it took Ridge almost 20 years to stop selling Monte Bello futures through retailers!

My guess is that this will have ZERO impact on Montelena's futures sales. I imagine they will now offer mailing list customers and winery visitors as much as they want to buy...

Mark
I'm with TBA & Mark H. If the futures program is like Monte Bello($75 or less), I'll bite. If it goes to $100 thru the winery-Buh Bye.

I also agree that if the price to the retailers increases to the normal wholesale price for a $120 MSRP, Montelena will only sell the great vintages(Parker or WS 96+ scores). Maybe they'll turn into the next BV.
don't disagree, and I'm not a retailer, however, from their perspective and I can imagine that if Montelena is going to sell (futures) directly to the end user at a price less than what I can buy wholesale that I'd probably find a new incentive to start carrying other wines than Montelena on my shelves.

Of course, it all depends on if Montelena will still jump off of retail shelves at $125/bottle. If it does, retailers will still carry it, however, there will be a group of bitter retailers who will make a statement and drop it.
It's my guess the Montelena futures program will be the same as before, where people will be able to buy in "tranches", with each subsequent "tranche" priced slightly higher than the last, and "first tranche" pricing will be 50% of MSRP (which is what it is today, and is how Ridge prices Monte Bello futures).

I'd also guess that Montelena will be selling MUCH more Estate cab on futures than before, meaning that on-release availability via retailers will be almost non-existent. Most on-release Estate cab will probably be sold to restaurants.

All IMO of course...

Mark

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