Does It Matter . . . Ownership


This is the first in a series of blog posts where I’m asking pretty simple questions about aspects of our wine industry that may or may not be known to the general public – and if it helps determine whether or not you will purchase specific wines.

Kosta Browne is a winery that was started by a couple of servers at a restaurant who combined their tips to purchase grapes for their first wine.  Their brand garnered early critical acclaim and the original shareholders ‘cashed out’ a part of their equity by selling off to a smallish investment company a few years back. The cash infusion allowed them to build their own winemaking facility, among other things. Now, this investment company has ‘cashed out’ and sold its share to another investment company.

Why am I telling you this story? Well – there are many that feel that since the original owners have received all of this money and they have new investors aboard, the natural direction will be to grow bigger and probably charge more for their wines. And the feeling is that as you grow bigger, you cannot hold onto the quality you are able to achieve when you are smaller.

This really got me thinking about winery ownership and whether or not that does or should impact your support of a winery or willingness to purchase those wines.  I think most would agree that you would not support a winery owner that was, say, a murderer or something similar.

Would you support a winery owned by Billionaires? Or one that has an association with a large pharmaceutical or agricultural conglomerate? Or does if just not matter?

And what about if you didn’t know but found out later – would that change your opinion about the wine and purchasing again?

The reality is that many wineries in the US are owned by larger corporations or investment companies, some of which are ‘wine oriented’ and some of which are not. Others were started an are owned by multi-millionaires that made their money elsewhere and decided to get into the wine biz.

Does this or should this affect your support of such a winery?

I’m listening . . .



6 comments on “Does It Matter . . . Ownership

  1. garycoon says:

    I might not care if I liked the wine. (I’m not sure if you’re a Billionaire either.)

  2. dakasim32 says:

    It’s the wine quality, and the up front people. If you go looking for the backers, you will probably not like what you find.

  3. awanderingwino says:

    ownership 100% matters but not money in my view. An owner like Gallo that has been politically outspoken would certainly detract many from the opposition party.

    Also any owner that is viewed upon negatively for any number of reasons. For example, if Michael Vic opened a winery, that business would likely loose lots of business.

    My point is that I do believe owners matter, but not solely based on wealthy owners/investors.

  4. Thanks for the replies thus far, What’s interesting is that so many people choose to purchase things based on knee jerk reactions, including ownership. If you like Hartford Court zins, for instance, does it matter that Kendall Jackson owns them? I don’t think so – but when I’ve mentioned this to some folks, their ‘view’ of the wines changed, Just fascinating behavior to me . . .

  5. Tim says:

    See Ultimatum Game. Don’t expect people to act rationally. We rarely do.

  6. I don’t think there is a set in stone rule, at least for me. I have had wines that were once Ma and Pop that went corporate that I really liked (Gary Farrell, e.g.) and others that really went south in a hurry (won’t mention them here). By and large, however, I prefer wines with an interesting story attached to them and generally speaking big corporations are not all that interesting to me.

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