I love the questions that come at me. Some are really interesting, and when they are, I tend to share them with you. There’s possible value to you in the answer, regarding the thinking process of one involved and how conclusions and decisions are made.

With this one, there are some marketing clues and honest opinions about the wine in question.

Dear Jo:

I purchased about 100 bottles of older wine. One of the bottles is a 1982 Sonoma County, Pinot Noir, Bacigalupi, from Belevedere Winery. Do you know what this might be worth. Thank you for your help.

My response, and I may have finally determined how he could sell the bottle in the very last few words.

Dear Mark (made up name):

The 1982 vintage is before my time at Belvedere. That said, they did have some older vintages around, and Bacigalupi Vineyard is/was the neighbor to Belvedere Winery. (I know Helen fairly well, because she’s one of our first members in PS I Love You, the advocacy group for Petite Sirah. She has a lot of integrity, so she sold very good grapes to Belvedere.)

Honestly, Bill Hambrecht, the owner, never made a wine that was more than a value wine under that label. He was just starting out, and value wines help to open an unknown brand, as you know. I’m not sure who the winemaker was in 1982. Erich Russell was the winemaker when I arrived (1993), but I don’t know who was there in 1982. It was never discussed in my five years there.

Belvedere wines were value wines, as I said, so between “Would it age well?” and the fact that it wasn’t made in Burgundy, where you might trust that older vintages have the potential to age well, not knowing what the weather was like in 1982 in California (all good, reliable years back then), I doubt that the monetary value would be very much. This would be the one that I’d open to see what’s going on with it to celebrate the other 99 bottles of wine (on the wall).

If it’s still a good wine, your celebration will be worth having popped it open; if it’s not, you’ll understand why I think the way I do about this one.

That said, value is always in the eye of the beholder. You might want to try selling it to Bill Hambrecht. He’s the one with the nostalgic interest…

It also just occurred to me that if Bill doesn’t want to buy it, Mark would have a definitive answer to the question of its value. (I’ve got to send him another Email.)

Regardless, I asked Mark to let me know what he’s done with the bottle. He got my curiosity piqued.

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