^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
4

Sigel's Discounts Mysterious Cheap Wines

Sigel's is readying to put its 90+ Cellars wines on sale, making the label Time recently described as a "magical combo" of good wine and cheap prices an even better deal.

90+ Cellars, the subject of a feature story in The Boston Globe this week, has been garnering attention for its unique business model. Unlike most negociants, who buy surplus grapes from winemakers and blend their own proprietary wines, Kevin Mehra purchases already bottled-wines without labels. The anonymity allows accomplished wine producers (the company's name refers to the high scores bestowed by Wine Spectator and other industry publications) to unload inventory without embarrassment. Mehra's method works much like Hotwire for wine -- minus the big post-purchase reveal.

Since the winemaker can't be identified, 90+ Cellars wines are sold by varietal, region, vintage and lot number. Sigel's sale, which starts Thursday, includes a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand for $8.99 and a 2009 Russian River Chardonnay for $9.99. Wines are typically priced from $9-$14, or about half the price they might fetch if sold with a pedigreed label.

Sigel's is privy to information about the winemakers, and its staff sometimes helps Mehra make buying decisions. Sigel's director of wine marketing Jasper Russo confirms the store often stocks the same wine with its vineyard's label and as a 90+ Cellars selection -- albeit at a much cheaper price.

"These are some of the best values we've found," Russo says. "The quality is just spectacular."

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Sigel's is the only local wine retailer carrying 90+ Cellars wines. Russo says they've been an enormous hit with customers since their introduction in late 2009.

"It's gangbusters," he says. "The concept is right on."

Russo's only regret is that it's impossible for Mehra to replicate the deals he makes: "He might buy 1,000 cases and that's it," Russo says, lamenting a $25 Barolo that's no longer available. And he worries that when the economy improves, wine makers won't have to count on Mehra to keep their cash flows healthy.

"I wonder how long he will be able to keep this business model if wineries become reluctant to sell off their cuvees," Russo says.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.