Notes From the Winemaker - June 22nd, 2012


I write with a sense of obligation to the longtime friends of Octagon, to announce the release of Octagon 2008 next week, and to notify you of the implementation on that date, of a price adjustment we have deferred over many vintages. Although Octagon has held to its retail price of $39.99 at the winery since the Seventh Edition, Octagon 2004, our commitment to producing it only when it will be great, not merely the best in any vintage, has exposed the wine to market pressures of demand which accentuate its natural scarcity, and to production costs which expose this price more and more as artificially low. Created only from our most ideally matched Reserves in our Bordeaux reds, and always only in the best vintages, no production factor has permitted its volume to expand beyond some four and a half percent of annual bottlings, while subjecting Octagon to ever rising costs in skilled labor, in winery maturation time, and in barriques of new French oak from the finest cooperage in Italy. 

Recent vineyard expansions also have not resulted in the expansion of Octagon's volume, but in the strengthening of select constituent varietals, especially Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Yet, at the same time, international awards and recognition, which flow directly upon our adherence to these production standards, have subjected the wine to such demand that it is no longer possible to pace its depletion along with our other vintages. With the 2008 vintage, therefore, Octagon Eleventh Edition, we announce the new retail price of $49.99 per bottle, with our customary free shipping anywhere in Virginia from our Tasting Room and web store, for 6 bottles of Octagon or more. 

I do understand that some adjustments are never welcome news, but with Octagon there are very important consolations. In this portrait from a visit by Bon Appetit to Barboursville in 2002, our family is sharing a harvest feast with good friends from Summerfield Farm, with the 1998 Octagon. Two years later, we would harvest the first Octagon vintage to be priced at $39.99, a larger price adjustment than this one. Since then, the boys in this picture have grown to stand over 6 feet tall, a sister has been born to them who is now 6 years old, and their father has famously less hair. Yet in all that time, vintage after vintage, each additional year of bottle age in any new bottle of Octagon, has always brought it comparison with wines costing substantially more, and it is consistently judged by critics to be superior to most of them. Within 3 to 5 years of bottle life the purchase price of Octagon is perceived as representing one of the leading values in any cellar. This will still be the case, and we will all be enjoying our vintages of Octagon in their finer periods in bottle. 

I thank you again for your support of our shared standards for Octagon, which are a bond we have with each other that have made it the unique success that it is. This is the meaning of Octagon, and this we are bound to preserve into the future.