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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Prisoner Sells to Constellation Brands for $285 Million

Less than a year after the blockbuster purchase of Meiomi for $315 million, Constellation Brands just closed the deal to purchase the Prisoner Wine Company for an estimated $285 million. Of course we know that Dave Phinney was the original creator of this wine (when it was good) and had sold the brand to Huneeus Vintners a while back. This purchase is not shocking to me at all. Why? Because the wine was already a bastard living off a previous reputation for quality that only lasted until around 2005.

I was in retail when the prisoner was first released. I remember how good the wine first was and that it would hit the Wine Spectator top 100 year after year. I distinctly remember the 2003 vintage and tasting the wine when it was around $20 retail. It was an icon of the time because it set the standard for wines of this type and style. A field blend of generous flavor and power, at a great price, with a beautiful package. I initially loved it.

I also remember when the wine started to suck. I remember the price increasing slowly until it reached the $30 mark and beyond. I remember the wine starting to thin-out and taste mass produced and manipulated in the cellar. It was a sad story, but a great success story for Phinney. Everyone tried to copy that model and some succeeded, but never to the heights of the Prisoner.

Don't even get me started on Meiomi....That wine is never made from 100% Pinot Noir. Send me a proven lab sample stating as such and I will retract the statement. The wine is garbage. I have nothing against Constellation and I'm sure they will sell the shit out of this stuff....but it's all just a little sad to see the money made off of the everyday consumer who doesn't think there are better options. 
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