Patel: New Wine, New Biz Model, New Winery ‘Model’
In late December, I had the pleasure of not only sampling some truly extraordinary Red wine…but also of having that wine come from a brand new winery, one recently started by a longtime friend…a winery that is set up in a model that is similar to one others will be following more & more in the near future.
As I wrote about this wine–2007 Proprietary Red from Patel Winery in a Review you can see here on WineLabelWorld–it is nothing short of stunning in nearly every way, even as it has not yet been released. [The 2007 Zin, also not released & already discontinued, was truly one of the best I’ve ever tasted, with plenty of room to mature.]
What Proprietor & Founder, Raj Patel, set out to do, was create a world-class Bordeaux-styled wine from Napa Valley, but doing so in a smaller-scale, “startup” manner. He said he would do that from the beginning, and has been remarkably able to keep to that vision, even with all of the possible distractions along the way. He also did it without acquiring outsized assets that many saddle themselves with when arriving in Napa, often to the tune of millions of dollars. Raj has assembled his operation in Napa Valley, but done so carefully. Now, to be fair: this “startup” process of building a new winery brand is not a new idea [i.e., NOT owning hundreds of acres and an Estate to go with it on the day you start], and is used in other areas of business.
The key point with the new Patel Winery wines in my view, is this: Raj has launched his winery at a very difficult point in time economically, assembled the many disparate parts needed to create a great wine, actually CREATED a great wine, AND did it in his first vintage out. A very notable achievement.
Since his production volumes are very small [less than 500 cases], he is by no means a major threat to the established wineries of the world, with their huge Fixed costs, but this is a trend that can not help them. As people like Raj Patel blaze this trail, it will only put more pressure on these huge operations to change & adapt. Nothing wrong with that…but it will happen.
My first taste of Patel 2007 Proprietary Red convinced me of that.