Veraison 2009
A Response to Michael Pollan: It's Cool in the Kitchen Now

Introducing the VINsider Wine Club "Collector's Edition"

Earlier this week, we sent out initial notice to all our VINsider Wine Club members that we are launching a library version of our wine club.  We're calling this the VINsider Wine Club Collector's Edition.

Regular readers of the blog may remember a post from last summer called a library wine club? where I was struggling with how we might go about sharing the wines that we'd been aging in our cellars since the 2003 vintage (a post on which I got lots of good comments from readers).  We've finally come up with a solution that we like, and have taken the plunge.  Here are the details:

  • Collector’s Edition members will continue to receive two shipments of wine per year from us.  The spring shipment will be the same six-bottle selection that all VINsiders receive, but the fall shipment, in which we traditionally include the upcoming vintages of Esprit de Beaucastel and Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, will be increased to a case by the inclusion of six additional bottles:
    • 2 bottles of a library vintage of Esprit de Beaucastel
    • 1 bottle of a library vintage of Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc
    • 2 additional bottles of the upcoming release of Esprit de Beaucastel 
    • 1 additional bottle of the upcoming release of Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc
  • We will select the library vintages each summer based on the results of a library tasting, whose results we will post on this blog (for an example look at the writeup that followed the library vertical tasting from Francois Perrin's visit in May)
  • We will make available a small quantity of the library wines for re-orders

There were a couple of things that we liked about this solution.  First, it didn't require people to be home to accept another shipment, and didn't require us to make another shipment in either mid-summer (when it's often too hot to ship and lots of people are on vacation) or mid-winter (when lots of people have other major purchases and it's sometimes too cold).  Second, it's not a big additional commitment for members: just six more bottles once a year, and no more than two additional bottles of any single wine.  And we were able to give some nice extra benefits to members consistent with our existing policies.

  • As the resulting fall shipment will consist of twelve bottles, members will receive all the wines at the additional 5% case discount (we sell 1-11 bottles to our club members at 20% off; 12+ bottles at 25% off). 
  • As the shipment will include at least six bottles of Esprit de Beaucastel wines, we will ship it for free.  We made this policy change earlier this spring to encourage the sales of our Esprit de Beaucastel wines. 

I think that the resulting Collector's Edition inaugural shipment is pretty spectacular.  The wines (with their costs) will be:

  • 2 bottles of 2003 Esprit de Beaucastel (library price: $55 each; cost: $41.25 each)
  • 1 bottle of 2005 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc (library price: $45; cost: $33.75)
  • 4 bottles of 2007 Esprit de Beaucastel (list: $50 each; cost: $37.50 each)
  • 2 bottles of  2008 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc (list: $40 each; cost: $30each)
  • 1 bottle of 2007 “En Gobelet” (list: $40; cost: $30)
  • 1 bottle of 2008 Picpoul Blanc (list: $27; cost: $20.25)
  • 1 bottle of 2008 Bergeron (list: $27; cost: $20.25)

We're limiting inaugural membership in the Collector's Edition to 250, and will always have to limit membership to avoid overwhelming our library. 

A letter will go out to VINsiders next week explaining the new club in detail.  VINsiders who are interested in becoming members can just fill out and fax back the last page of the letter, let us know either by phone and email, or sign up online.  And new VINsiders, whether they join online or in our tasting room, will have the option of choosing the Collector's Edition when they do.

This program is the result of five years’ preparation, and allows us to provide newer members (as well as older members who have already consumed all their earliest vintages) the opportunity to experience Tablas Creek’s most ageable wines, cellared in ideal conditions.  We hope that our fans will be as excited to receive this increased access to our own library as we are to share it with them.