Why Are Some Wines Pricier Than Others

Ever wondered why some wines cost more than others? To put it simply wine is like any other product that competes for the shilling in your pocket. There are several factors that affect price such as, how it is produced, where it is produced, where the grapes were grown, how unique/rare it is all play a significant role in dictating the final price of the wine. But price is only an indication of quality when similar wines are being compared. The three main factors that contribute to the price of wine are terroir, production process and time.


Terroir is how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of wine. Some regions are said to have more ‘terroir” than others. If you’re buying wine from the best vineyard in the region then you’d expect to pay top dollar price just as you would with a farmer with the best produce. The terrain where the vineyard is located affects the quality of the grapes and the producer demands more pricing for their wine. For example, Napa Valley has become synonymous with great California wine to consumers all over the world. What makes Napa Valley so unique? Napa grows fabulous grapes on a fabulous terroir, resulting in fabulous wines, such as our Conn Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.


Further, winemakers can choose to produce their wines cheaply or expensively. They might make their wine using low-yield grapes (to ensure they produce wines with full flavour), rather than use the bigger volume high-yield grapes. They might harvest their grapes by hand for gentler handling of the fruit and to be more selective (which means high labour costs) rather than by machine (low labour costs). They could make and ferment their wine in stainless steel tanks, or a combo (stainless steel and oak), or concrete vat or the (expensive) oak barrels. The most coveted wines in the world are aged in oak, and many use new oak (very expensive). All these costs add up and dictate the selling price of the wine. This is why a wine from a quality producer will always be more expensive than a bulk-production wine. For example, our Silver Mountain wines; the grapes are hand-picked, the wine-making process starts with whole berry fermentation, then the wines are aged in oak.


Many quality wines are made to mature over a long period of time before finally reaching their best. As time passes by, and more and more bottles are drunk up, a wine will become increasingly rare, pushing its price higher and higher. That’s why Reserve and Grand Reserve wines are always going to pull a premium price to go with their premium quality. Then there are the astonishingly good Estate wines made in tiny quantities each year, from the outset these wines are rare and of course costly.

To cap it all, there is really no difference between a rare quality wine and a limited edition luxury car, both are desirable commodities and if they are your passion you will be prepared to pay for their quality, rarity and exclusivity and believe they are worth the price paid. And again, how much you pay for a bottle will depend on where you buy it from. There’s a huge difference in price between buying a bottle of wine from a wine shop, or retail store compared to buying the same bottle from a hotel, pub, or restaurant.

Significantly, Kenyan taxes are much higher on legally imported wine than what one would pay for the same wine in the US, Europe or even South Africa, thus the high taxation imposed also impacts on the final price of a bottle.

But Price cannot compete with sound wine knowledge; the more you know about wine and how it is produced, the better you will be at selecting good wine. Visit our store or buy online and you’ll be sure to find a good wine that fits your budget.