Now thru December 31st, 2021, when you sign up as a new member of Beverly Hills Wine Club or you refer a friend, you will be entered to win a new Coravin Model Three wine preservation system (Retail Value $149.95) in our Explore More Gorgeous Wine Giveaway. Membership is complimentary.
Coravin is the industry standard in wine preservation systems and the finest tool we’ve come across when preserving luxury fine wine. As Coravin states, “Drink what you want, without compromise. Coravin gives you the freedom to pour the wine you desire, and save the rest of the bottle for weeks, months, or even years.”
So go ahead, open and explore more gorgeous wines, and why not take this time to consider our latest membership feature and subscribe to our seasonal wine club, Wine To Your Door! Cheers!
Rules: You must sign up as a new member between October 13th, 2021 -December 31, 2021 OR refer a new member between those dates. Referred member must indicate your name when signing up. Refer multiple friends to receive additional submissions (up to 5). Winner will be picked randomly in January 2022 and contacted via email. Winner will have 1 week to claim, otherwise another random winner will be chosen. Winner must reside in the United States. Winner must provide mailing address and agrees to allow Beverly Hills Wine Club the publication and promotional use of their name.
“Wine To Your Door” program is a new “white-glove” service and feature for members of the Beverly Hills Wine Club. Membership to Beverly Hills Wine Club is currently complimentary.
We strive to offer first in class service to our growing membership of wine lovers and tastemakers who love exploring the finest crafted wines. As a result, we seek out exclusive and very limited production wines from boutique winemakers we truly admire the world over. These winemakers often produce classic wines derived from exceptional farming and winemaking practices with minimal intervention. Four times a year (Sept, Dec, March, June) we hand deliver two exclusive wines (typically a white and a red but occasional Rose’ or sparkling too) specifically curated by leading wine experts and local sommeliers we partner with and trust in fulfilling the quality and aesthetic our members desire. The cost per quarter will range between $70 and $100 dependent on the highest quality of wine we procure at the given time.
*Currently, this program is only available within 20 miles of Beverly Hills, California USA
Have you ever wondered what cult wines are and how they came to be? Discover their auspicious origin stories here.
“If there is ever a task that I, good old Manfred, don’t like to perform, it is writing and sending this note,” wrote co-owner Manfred Krankl in a 2019 missive. “Communicating about wines we sadly don’t have enough to offer to everyone interested is clearly a miserable task… Thank you so much for your patience and kindness. It is greatly appreciated. We are so happy you are there and can’t wait to get some juice to you.”
Sine Qua Non isn’t the only winery for which demand outpaces supply. Wait lists are the norm for cult wines.
But what is a “cult wine,” exactly?
While some winemakers dislike the term, it has come to encapsulate three main things: scarcity, high prices and quality. Many consider Napa Valley the birthplace of the cult wine phenomenon, and so its most famous grape, Cabernet Sauvignon, comprises many of the world’s most sought-after cult wines. However, there are cult wines made from other grapes and in other regions around the world.
As U.S. wine drinkers developed their palates in the latter half of the 20th century, reviewers played a large part in establishing the reputation of many of the country’s enduring cult wines. Now, cult bottlings are generally only available to purchase if you’re on the allocation list or via the secondary market.
Napa’s Cult-Like Following
In 2008, a billionaire purchased six magnums of Screaming Eagle’s 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon for $500,000. Only 225 cases of the wine were ever made and it’s among the most coveted brands worldwide.
But Screaming Eagle’s team never set out to make a cult wine.
According to Heidi Barrett, Screaming Eagle’s original winemaker, the brand didn’t really exist in its current form when she began working there. She’d been making wine down the hill at Dalla Valle and the owners gave her a directive: “Go help Jean [Phillips, the founder of Screaming Eagle] make wine,” she says. “It was a no-frills, pay-by-the-hour situation.”
But they also gave a lot of it away.
When the owners of Screaming Eagle began entering the wine in local competitions, however, the kudos began to roll in.
As whispers of how good Screaming Eagle was grew in volume, Phillips priced the wine at $75, an unprecedented move at a time when high-end domestic wines often maxed out at about $50. That led a friend, unbeknownst to Phillips and Barrett, to give the wine to Robert Parker to review. He initially gave it 99 points. However, after sitting with it for a while, he rescinded the score and re-scored it at 100 points.
Some wondered if this sudden success was a fluke. But Screaming Eagle became globally renowned, and its success catapulted Heidi Barrett into the spotlight as one of the most respected consulting winemakers in the world.
Around the same time, another winery producing a sought-after Cabernet blend, Harlan Estate, was emerging in Napa. Unlike Phillips, Harlan Estate founder Bill Harlan deliberately set out to create a notable wine, one that he calls a “California First Growth” of grand cru quality.
“Rhône wines always felt non-arrogant.” —Manfred Krankl, founder, Sine Qua Non
According to Brett Anderson, director of culture and communication at Harlan Family Wines, Harlan had a rather fortuitous call with Robert Mondavi in 1979 that persuaded him that he needed to make high quality wine. Mondavi promised that he would introduce Harlan to some of France’s greatest winemakers.
A subsequent trip through Europe to meet with Mondavi’s wine contacts convinced Harlan of Napa’s potential for greatness. He used Burgundy and Bordeaux as models for his Napa site selection, viticulture and winemaking processes.
In 1984, Harlan bought 240 acres in the western hills of Napa Valley, on east-facing slopes. Thus began the rise of what would become a near-mythical wine: Harlan Estate.
Using his same rigorous criteria for site selection, Harlan created single-vineyard, single variety wines in Napa Valley, all modeled after Burgundy’s grand crus. That model would ultimately become BOND, Harlan’s other cult classic label.
Other Napa wineries included in the cult producer category include Bryant Family, Colgin, Dalla Valle, Dominus Estate, Eisele Vineyard Estate (formerly Araujo Winery), Hundred Acre, Scarecrow and Schrader. All of these wineries have long wait times for a spot on the allocation list, limited production, high prices, and most of the wineries themselves are closed to the public.
Cult wines aren’t exclusive to Napa. In Santa Barbara County, on California’s Central Coast, Sine Qua Non is aptly named. In Latin, the phrase roughly translates to “indispensable.” While some may not believe that it’s worth it to wait years to purchase a three, four or even five- figure wine, hard core fans of the wine do exactly that.
Co-owner Manfred Krankl previously helmed hot Los Angeles restaurant, Campanile.
“As managing partner, I always loved wine, and always thought that being the ‘wine guy’ wasn’t really a job,” he says. “I allotted the job to myself because I always liked talking about wine…I always thought we should have a house wine. But restaurants always have house wine and it’s always the worst wine.”
And so, he set out to create the antithesis of a lackluster “house wine.”
He tapped Bryan Babcock of Babcock Winery to help create Campanile’s House Wine. Babcock readily agreed and the two decided that selling the house wine would be a one-time collaboration.
Campanile’s House Wine turned out to be a smash hit. Even Jim Dine, famed contemporary artist known for his graffiti-esque heart paintings, was smitten, and told Krankl that he’d let him use one of his paintings as a label in exchange for a few cases.
Restaurant guests asked for more of the wine, and asked Krankl, “What’s next?”
But there was a slight problem.
“Nothing was next,” says Krankl. He had anticipated that his wine would only be made once. After some thought, however, he decided to try for round two and collaborated with a winemaker from Piedmont, Italy, and then from other regions. In 1994, Krankl thought, well I can do this myself, now.
That was his first vintage.
“Robert Parker called my wife and said he wanted a case and gave [the wine] 95 points,” says Krankl.
It sold out in one day.
At the time, the Krankls were giving out their home phone number for wine orders, but Parker discouraged them from doing that since he saw the blow-up potential of the wine.
“We were instantly set up,” says Krankl regarding Parker’s influence. “I never thought that it would be my livelihood or business per se; it was just a hobby. I had no idea what was coming down the pike.”
Parker and influential critic Stephen Tanzer would come to dinner with the Krankls every year to taste the newest vintages.
The momentum never slowed.
Sine Qua Non’s Rhône-style wines now feature grapes grown in its own vineyards, which are mostly planted on their own rootstocks.
“Rhône wines always felt non-arrogant,” says Krankl. “[They] always seemed fruity and juicy and fresh, and as I drank more and more and visited people over there [in the Rhône Valley], I liked them better and better.”
Like many of Napa’s cult bottlings, Leonetti Cellar’s flagship bottling is also based on Cabernet Sauvignon. Leonetti became Walla Walla Valley’s first commercially bonded winery in 1977, and it wasted no time making an impression.
The 1978 Cabernet vintage was a “big deal and launching point [for the winery],” says Figgins. “In the early ‘90s, high Parker scores and a Wine Spectator cover changed the nature of our business [to the point] where we weren’t growing enough to meet demand.”
The New Guard
In recent years, the idea of a cult wine has evolved in the hands of some of America’s young, maverick winemakers. Though the new guard’s wines can cost hundreds of dollars, they are a far cry from the astronomical sums that plague the majority of predecessors like Screaming Eagle and Sine Qua Non. Some have open waitlists, too, so procuring wine is not out of the question.
“It feels wrong for me to make a wine that’s expensive,” says Michael Cruse, founder of California’s Ultramarine sparkling wines. Ultramarine is only about $80 on release, but the waitlist to get an allocation is about two years.
“It was never [my] intention or thought to produce something that was hard to get,” says Cruse. “The idea was to make something unique and special, and it’s more of a fluke than anything else that it became so high in demand. For my part, I would like all my wines to be available because I want folks to taste them.”
But there’s a reason there isn’t much to go around.
“It’s so limited because we never wanted to make more until we knew we could sell it,” says Cruse. “We have a waitlist because we have to have one.”
Like many of the wines on this list, Ultramarine can be procured on the secondary market from places like Verve Wine for around $200.
“The secondary market is surprising to me, but I feel like if I can take care of my customers… then I don’t really need to pay attention to the secondary market,” says Cruse.
Down in Santa Barbara County, a winery with built-in pedigree continues to thrive. Under the same ownership as Screaming Eagle, Jonata Winemaker Matt Dees creates acclaimed wine from Bordeaux and Rhône varieties. Dees and team employ biodynamic farming practices in the vineyard, where great wine starts, and use unusual blends to showcase the merits of each grape of the blend. Jonata only seems to be known by a select few of in-the-know people, and its wines command prices in the hundreds of dollars.
“It feels wrong for me to make a wine that’s expensive.” —Michael Cruse, founder, Ultramarine
In Napa, Promontory, the most recent of Bill Harlan’s projects, commands around $800 per bottle, but it is the only one of his wineries that offers tasting experiences by appointment, while Harlan and BOND are closed to the public. Founded in 2008, Promontory is helmed by Bill’s son Will, and ushers in a slightly younger demographic than Harlan’s original labels.
Brothers Carlo and Dante Mondavi decided to join their famous family’s wine business but put their own spin on the cult category with their label, Raen. They source from three reputable vineyards in Sonoma County that sit at elevations ranging from 650 feet to nearly 1,300 feet above sea level.
Though the mailing list for Raen is open right now, the consistently high scores, high quality and familial pedigree will propel Raen into the ranks of the top cult wines in the future.
While the culture of cult wines has changed in tandem with U.S. and global tastes, the clamor for them, either from a multi-year waitlist or secondary market, show no signs of slowing down.
If you have a wine collection worth $200,000 or more–and you haven’t taken out an insurance policy–your investment may be in jeopardy.
Even if you aren’t storing a bottle of ultra high-dollar Chateau Lafite 1869 or Cheval Blanc 1947 in your wine cellar, you likely own some valuable vino that should not only be protected from spoilage but also protected from disasters.
However, experts estimate that fewer than 5% of wine collections are properly insured. In other words, your wine—and your investment in it—could go down the drain if the bottles accidentally break or somebody steals them during a break-in. The price of leaving your wine collection uninsured could be steep, as one wine industry professional estimates the value of the typical wine collection at $200,000.
Unfortunately, a typical homeowners insurance policy often falls well short of covering a $200,000 wine collection. Why? Because most homeowners insurance policies don’t take into account typical threats to wine bottles, such as destruction caused by floodwaters, power outages that could ruin wine, and breakage that happens when wine is being transported.
Furthermore, the personal property coverage within a standard homeowners insurance policy will likely be inadequate for fully covering an extensive wine collection plus all of your other belongings.
How to Get Wine Insurance
For wine stored at home, you may be able to purchase extra coverage through homeowners insurance. And if you keep your wine at a specialized storage facility, you also might be able to buy separate coverage from the facility.
If you keep your wine at home, consider adding a personal articles floater. This is a way to provide adequate protection for your collection. Insurance experts recommend insuring a collection on a bottle-by-bottle basis through a floater if the wine is worth at least $500 per bottle. You also can purchase a floater that provides overall coverage for a collection with a dollar limit of, say, $25,000.
For more valuable wine collections, investigate speciality wine insurance. You can purchase bottle-by-bottle coverage or blanket coverage. Insurance professionals recommend bottle-by-bottle wine coverage for higher-dollar wine and blanket wine coverage for lower-value wine.
Note an important difference between coverage of wine under a homeowners policy vs. a wine insurance policy: The homeowners policy comes with a deductible if you make a claim, while a wine policy does not.
Once you obtain wine coverage, a policy normally pays claims for incidents like:
- Burglary or theft
- Misplaced or lost bottles
- Accidental breakage, such as when a bottle is being shipped from the seller to your home
- Power outage affecting climate-controlled wine storage
- Drain or sewer backup
- Earthquake or hurricane. In these situations, a special deductible may apply.
Many wine insurers cover your wine when it’s stored in your home, when it’s kept at an off-site storage facility or while it’s being shipped. Insurers refer to this as worldwide all-risk coverage, which takes into account any loss that isn’t listed as being excluded. For instance, all-risk coverage might cover bottles of wine that were broken during an earthquake (unless that’s excluded) or that have somehow disappeared.
Wine insurance isn’t all-encompassing, however.
“You can’t insure against gradual deterioration or damage caused by poor storage conditions. For example, if a bottle of wine is left in the trunk of your car and spoils, there is no coverage. Fading, scratching or tearing of a label also would typically be excluded,” says Laura Doyle, vice president at Chubb, which sells wine insurance.
Keep in mind that if you uncork a bottle of wine and sample even a few sips, coverage is no longer in effect.
Estimating Your Wine Insurance Need
To figure out how much coverage you should buy for your wine collection, you’ll need to get it appraised by a professional appraiser. For insurance purposes, you’ll also need to track how much wine you’ve got on hand by maintaining an up-to-date inventory.
Annual premiums for specialty wine coverage generally range from 40 cents to 80 cents for each $100 worth of wine. So, if you own a wine collection valued at $200,000, your annual premium would be $1,200 if the cost is 60 cents for each $100 worth of wine.
The cost of wine insurance is determined by factors such as:
- Size of wine collection.
- Location of wine collection.
- Exposure to dangers like earthquakes and wildfires.
- Management of wine collection, such as safety precautions in place to protect the bottles.
“Wine collectors should seek counsel from a knowledgeable insurance agent or broker who can help them determine the right coverage to meet their unique needs,” Doyle says.
Located in the wine region of Santa Barbara County, woven amongst the local businesses, you will find Black Monarch, a boutique, private wine tour and transportation service company. We’re a small business in a beautiful county, surrounded by flower fields and vineyards, striving to make an impact in our community.
We specialize in delivering a private, customized wine tour and transportation service to both the locals and tourists, between the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley. Black Monarch is dedicated to executing a best-in-class service centered on elevating your entire experience, enabling you to discover the tastes found in our region, the scenic views that encapsulate the beauty of our surroundings, as we share with you both the hidden gems and well-known locations, established in our Santa Barbara Wine Country.
Our first-class service shows up in how we listen and respond to your feedback and requests, how we put your health and safety first, and in how we put intention behind our actions. We are small business focused and passionate about supporting our community. We believe emphatically that by sharing our beautiful wine country with you, together, our efforts will drive economic growth at the local level, foster meaningful relationships in the community and build a network of diversity and inclusion. Our philosophy is that by remaining small, we can create a cost-effective, give-back model that can be shared, promote sustainability, and deliver our services to a diverse group of people.
Your Black Monarch wine tour delivers you exclusive access to our wine country network in one of the most beautiful locations, Santa Barbara Wine Country. Your luxury, black car service transportation provides your party with complete privacy, while exploring our wine trails. While out on the trail, you’ll observe the picturesque valley of our coastal mountains, fields of flowers when in season, and the many vineyards that surround the area.
Included in your private wine tour, you will receive one flight per person, per each of the three winery locations that you will experience during your excursion. All wine tours are customized and your itinerary is carefully put together by our Managing Director. When he isn’t planning your tour, you can find him in wine country tasting through the seemingly endless vineyards and wineries, getting to know the many people who make up the community and those who graciously come to visit, taking in the various aromas, discerning the unique tastes, flavor profiles and colors, noting down his thoughts quickly, eager to share his experiences whole heartedly. Some of our locals and visitors already have their own itinerary but lean on Black Monarch to provide their luxury, black car transportation service. Our private transportation service allows anyone to optimize their wine country experience, while receiving exceptional service. Whichever fits your need, Black Monarch invites you to come and connect, and share in the uniqueness and beauty of our community, so that you can have stories to tell and memories that last.
Contact Black Monarch by phone at 805-294-0930 or email email@example.com to reserve your next wine country excursion!