Here's an interesting article from Napa resident and well-known wine writer Dan Berger about the different levels of wine -- five to be exact -- that describe the range of vinous experiences from plonk to Petrus. ( Coincidentally, I've also developed my own 5 tier system, though not for types of wine, but for stages of knowledge about wine -- stay tuned later this week for more on that).
Berger's levels are (as paraphrased by me):
1. Wine-like beverages sold in 3-liter jugs or bags-in-boxes generally below $1-per-750ml-bottle in cost.
2. Bulk wines sold in regular and 1 liter bottles that ring up at around $3 to $5 per bottle in price.
3. Drinking with dinner wines, that range from $5 to $15 in price that range from lousy to great
4. Pricey wines between $15 and $40 in price that may or may not be worth the money
5. Collector wines from $40 to infinity, some of which are worth the the money, many of which are not
Dan has some interesting commentary about the types of wines in each category and the folks that buy them, so I suggest reading his article about them. One of the facts that he shares about this breakdown is that the first two categories of wine represent about 80% of the wine made in the world, with the remaining 20% being split amongst the latter three categories. This definitely jives with the recent reports about the most popular brands of wine ordered in restaurants in the US, and is a good reminder how most of us who drink $15 to $30 bottles weekly are quite fortunate.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Bob Cabral of Three Sticks Wines Warm Up: Rotgipfler and Beyond I'll Drink to That: Bernhard Stadlmann of Weingut Stadlmann Vinography Images: Last Light I'll Drink to That: Suzanne Mustacich Warm Up: The Douro I'll Drink to That: João Nicolau de Almeida of Ramos-Pinto Book Signing in St. Helena, December 5, 2015 I'll Drink to That: Carole Meredith of Lagier-Meredith Vineyards Napa's New Reference Point
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune