I recently wrote about Jo Diaz's post, What Are The Marketing Costs For a $50 Bottle of Wine? At the time, her post reminded me of something Dave Coffaro wrote a long time ago, but I didn't have time to chase it right then.
Today, I took a moment to visit the Coffaro Web site and turned up not only Dave's original rant on the difference between what a bottle costs and what it is sold for, but this article from Brendan Eliason, entitled My $100 Bottle of Wine.
(BTW, Brendan is now the owner of urban winery Periscope Cellars.)
One of the things which the Internet has done so well is to remove intermediaries (anyone remember travel agents?).
Brendan's article show that it's possible to make 95+ point wines for a cost that would allow them to be sold direct and still yield a substantial profit for the winery, even if you can only sell them in states that allow direct shipment.
It occurs to me that there's probably an opportunity for an extremely high-end winery which sells *only* direct to consumer/trade via the Internet. It would require (I think) a whole new approach/mindset to be successful, but it's possible.
Unfortunately, I'm not rich enough to run that experiment (though I'd like to). If you know of someone who's trying it in a serious way, please let me know in the comments.