Jackson Family Farms releases $150 Merlot

Jackson Family Farms releases $150 Merlot News Wine News
  • Tuesday 17 April 2001

Jackson Family Farms may be pushing ever-escalating prices for premium California wines over the top.

The winery has just released a 1998 Merlot called Verite at a retail price of US$150 (£100). Jackson Family Farms is run by Jess Jackson – who recently stepped down from running the hugely successful Kendall-Jackson International Wine Estates – and consists of around a dozen boutique wineries.

The stated aim of the winery is to make 'one of the world's great Merlot-based wines from a group of extraordinary mountain vineyards'. But there is some doubt whether American and international wine buyers will be willing to buy a $150 bottle of Merlot during a stagnant economy, much less one from a not-so-great vintage.

A prominent Napa Valley wine retailer, who will not be buying the wine and who does not want to be identified, said, 'When I tasted it I thought it was a good US$40 (£30) Merlot or maybe US$60 (£45) at most. At $150 there are far more wines that are better than this for the customers. I have to believe in the product in order to have it in the store. This is a perfect example of a winery setting the price of a wine regardless of how good it actually is.'

A source at the winery said they want to 'make a world-class Merlot as good or better than Pétrus'. Mike Lynch, director of marketing, said, 'Since Pétrus is acknowledged as perhaps the world's finest Merlot-based wine, it made sense to use that as a quality and style standard.'

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