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Value versus price

By Dave Buchanan
As a firm believer that Colorado wines continue to get better each vintage, but also someone not afraid to say there still are strides to be made, one question that often comes up is why Colorado wines seem to be over-priced compared to similar wines from California, Australia and elsewhere. A good Colorado pinot noir, for example, will cost $25 or more, while you can get an $8-$10 pinot from California. As Cedric Stanton said on the Web site, a cheap pinot noir tastes like "dog water." Well, even a Labrador retriever might turn up its nose at a poorly made pinot noir. Mass-manufactured wines take advantage of cheap land and labor and the glut of grapes, most of which are over-cropped and poor quality. And every winemaker worth his/her French barrels will tell you the best wines start with the best grapes. We asked Lee Bradley (Black Bridge Winery) about the cost of pinot noirs, since at his Orchard Valley Farms near Paonia he sells three of Colorado's best pinot noirs, including his, Eames Peterson's "Alfred Eames Cellars" and Steve Rhodes'. "It's a matter of value vs. price," said Bradley in his typically forthright manner. "It's just us making these wines, and every customer can come here and talk with the winemaker, not some marketing person. "Consumers don't always understand what a small grower and winemaker can bring to the business."