This slice of a chapter will give you a taste of how I teach the subject.

What’s it Worth?

You will notice that wine is found at virtually all prices. One bottle can be priced at $1.99 in the supermarket while another may be sold at auction for thousands. There’s a whole bunch in-between. How do you know what to pay? What range is good wine sold in? Can I really get better wine by paying more? These are questions that should cross your mind if they have not already.

Let’s go straight to the one that costs thousands -but I won’t address it directly in wine terms. My favorite automobile is the 1963 Chevrolet Stingray. The 1964 is almost the same but the rear window is split into two sections on the ’63 and I like that better. I’ve liked that car since I was a kid. It was less than $5,000 to buy new when I was not old enough to drive. Had somebody bought a ’63 in ’63 they most likely would have driven it for some time and put some wear and tear on it before selling it to somebody else who did the same. If it was driven until worn out or maybe in a wreck it would possibly have ended up in the junkyard. This was probably the fate of many ’63 Vettes and most are gone now but people who thought they were special and took care of them owned some of these cars. Those that are available now more than 40 years later are considered classics and are rare to find for sale. If I found one for sale for $5,000 would I buy it? Yup, in a heartbeat. So would a thousand other guys. So the price goes up. $25,000? Maybe I’d buy it. $50,000? Out of my league. But some of the thousand guys are still in! Who gets the Vette? The guy who will pay the most wins. It’s worth however much a ’63 Vette lover (or a collector) is willing to fork over. Your favorite car is a Ferrari so you’re not even interested. Your Ferrari starts at a higher price anyway. You get the picture.

Does good wine cost more? Well, my wife likes a Moscato (a sweet white wine) that costs about $6. I can put a $20 Cabernet Sauvignon in front of her and she’ll tell me she can’t even stand the smell much less want to drink it. I also like her Moscato but would gladly shell out the $20 and enjoy the Cab more. We’re both right; “good” is what you like.

I bought a well-known Napa Valley Cabernet for $99 and at the same time a new brand, also a Napa Cab, for $7.99. Was the expensive one better? Yes, but not $91 better! I was more impressed with the $7.99. I am also sure that a few years ago I would not have been able to distinguish which was the better because I didn’t have as much experience tasting at that time.

I explain the concept of varietals by talking about soda pop!

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