This October, VinePair is celebrating our second annual American Beer Month. From beer style basics to unexpected trends (pickle beer, anyone?), to historical deep dives and new developments in package design, expect an exploration of all that’s happening in breweries and taprooms across the United States all month long.
Several significant consolidation developments are taking hold in the beverage alcohol world. With acquisitions, IPOs, and sales impacting food and beverage companies and media outlets, it is a unique time to explore the role of the Covid pandemic on consumers’ needs and the viability of businesses as a result.
Join co-hosts Adam Teeter, Joanna Sciarrino, and Zach Geballe on this episode of the “VinePair Podcast” for a conversation on some of the key business plays going on in the beverage alcohol sphere. The three take a look first at industry trends, including Winc’s upcoming IPO and the sale of Francis Ford Coppola Winery. They also dive into three media-related business developments, including several key sales to new companies.
Tune in to get up to speed on the business developments impacting food and beverage.
OR CHECK OUT THE CONVERSATION HERE
Adam Teeter: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.
Joanna Sciarrino: I’m Joanna Sciarrino.
Zach Geballe: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.
A: This is the “VinePair Podcast.” Joanna, how was Canada?
J: It was great. It was wonderful.
A: Did you have Molson? Is that required?
J: It’s around. I actually passed the original Molson Brewery. I took a picture.
A: Is there a lot of pride in Canada for Molson and Labatt?
J: I think so. And yes, I did have it a few times at restaurants.
Z: What about Crown Royal? That’s the thing I think of most when I think of Canada, personally.
J: Yes, I think there’s pride in Crown Royal as well. I didn’t have any this trip, though.
A: So, what have you been drinking recently? What’s been awesome?
J: While I was there, I had a bottled Caesar.
Z: Oh my goodness.
J: A Mott’s Clamato.
A: Wait, really? I’ve never had that.
J: Yeah. It was my first time having this. It was the OG RTD because it’s been around for 20 years.
A: Really? I’ve never even heard of this.
Z: No. What is Caesar? Oh, my goodness.
J: Have you guys had Caesars, though?
A: I have.
Z: Yeah. It became enough of a thing in my restaurant days in Seattle. We get a lot of people coming down from Canada and asking for it. At one of the restaurants I worked at at the time, they eventually decided to start stocking Clamato because Canadians would come down and ask for it. We got tired of telling them no. I tried it. It didn’t really do it for me, but it was fine.
J: Yeah, I think it’s fine.
A: I don’t understand. Is it the clam juice that makes it sweet?
Z: It’s kind of sweet and briny. It’s a little weird.
J: Yeah. A lot of people who like Bloody Marys love an oyster on top.
A: I don’t think I’ve expressed this since you joined the podcast, Joanna, but I don’t like Bloody Marys.
J: I used to really like Bloody Marys, and now I can’t really drink them anymore because they’re too acidic.
A: I think they’re so overrated, too.
Z: I think the gap between a great Bloody Mary and everything else is pretty big. A great Bloody Mary is a great drink, but everything else is kind of disappointing. I don’t want it.
A: Would you order a Bloody Mary on a plane?
Z: Me? No. It wouldn’t be my go-to drink.
A: For a lot of people, it’s their plane drink. Anyways, what else?
J: I had some Wayne Gretzky wine.
A: Are you serious? I love that.
J: My father-in-law has a few bottles, so we tried it.
A: Is he a big Wayne Gretsky fan?
J: Yes. He’s a big hockey fan and a big Canadian person. He has a lot of Canadian pride. So, that’s my Canada trip. Then, I had Fremont Brewing’s Head Full of Fresh Hops Hazy IPA.
A: Was it delicious?
J: It was delicious. Thank you for having that sent to us, Zach.
Z: My pleasure. I had to prove Adam wrong and show him that I had connections after all.
A: I haven’t tried mine yet. I actually forgot to take it home last night, so now it’s in my bag for today. I’ll try it tonight, but is it really amazing?
J: Yeah, delicious. I’ve never had a fresh-hop beer, so it was really good.
A: How long does a fresh-hop beer last? How long can you store it for?
Z: I would say you should probably drink it within a month of it being canned.
A: OK, so drink these really quickly.
Z: Yeah. Definitely don’t hang on to them. They’re not collectors items.
J: Don’t age them.
A: Sweet. Zach, what about you, man?
Z: What is probably the most interesting thing I had in the last week or so was a really lovely bottle of Soave from Inama, which is a winery in the Soave region. As longtime listeners will know, I have a soft spot for Italian white wines, especially from northern Italy. Soave in particular is a wine that got a bum rap in the States because so much of it was produced and imported in the ’70s and ’80s. Most of it was pretty bad because it was essentially bulk wine. Soave as a place is really beautiful. The Classico region encompasses these hillsides above the valley flatland. This one in particular, from a vineyard called Monte Carbonare, is one of my favorite spots for Soave. It was just delicious. There’s something about the appley, slight citrusy notes of the wine. From this vineyard in particular, it has a bit of a smoky characteristic that I really like. It’s just delicious. It’s a great fall white wine. We’re definitely getting to the time of year here in Seattle where I want to be drinking more red wine. Sometimes I’m making chicken or something, and that’s what I had with that the other night. It was delicious. I’ve also had a lot of fresh-hop beer, just like you guys. How about you, Adam?
A: Thanks for asking.
Z: Someone’s got to.
A: I had two things recently that were delicious. On Friday night, Josh, Ethan, and I went to The Rockwell Place, which has reopened. It’s Toby Cecchini’s other bar. We had his cocktail, the Japonaise. It’s kind of a riff on a Mai Tai, but he serves it up in a coupe. It was with Cognac. It’s just delicious. I can’t describe it besides saying it’s delicious and you would crave it once you’ve had it. It’s really, really good. You should probably only have one, though, because it’s very strong. I’m still trying to drink less cocktails, starting this week. I feel like cocktails really hit you, man. I really need to get away from that, even though I love them. I also had a really nice bottle of wine with Naomi. We had a really delicious bottle last night. I can’t remember the producer’s name, and I really apologize for that. It was a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. They’re trying to rebrand themselves as just Nobile. It was very good. I don’t believe the people who say, “It’s the same as Brunello.” It’s not, but it’s very good. Salcheto is the producer. It’s very easy-drinking. It’s just not the same as Brunello, but it’s special in its own way. I encourage people to look for these wines because they are vastly cheaper than Brunello. It was cool. This week, we’re going to talk a little bit about some wonky business stuff. We haven’t done that in a while and there’s a lot of stuff happening in the food and beverage world right now in terms of acquisitions, IPOs, et cetera. I want to talk through a few of these and give our takes, both on the media front as well as on the beverage front. To quickly give a rundown before we get into the others, there’s the upcoming Winc IPO. The Infatuation was purchased by J.P. Morgan. You actually have Jancis Robinson being purchased recently.
J: Oh, right.
A: Coppola, earlier this summer, was purchased. Constellation was saying they were going to start making higher-end acquisitions. There’s a lot of stuff happening in the market. I think it’ll be interesting to talk about this, especially in this post-Covid world. We can talk about why a lot of these activities are happening right now and give our thoughts on some of these. The first one that I’m interested in starting with is Winc. Winc’s interesting for a lot of reasons, largely because a lot of us know it and because it’s a wine club. They are trying to go public. They’ve released their S-1s. A few of us have dug into them. It’s interesting to see what they’re doing. Winc is a business that I was always sort of unclear about how it was doing. Have either of you ever used Winc before? Do you have friends that have used Winc?
J: Not that I know of. It’s been around since 2011, right?
A: Yeah. It’s an old company. I think one of the founders has left the company and now has Amass, which is gin and stuff. I don’t know what the ownership structure looks like anymore, but it has always purported to be a very successful wine business. Zach, were you familiar with it? Have you ever used it before?
Z: I haven’t. Personally, I’ve tried a couple of the wines when I’ve been over at friends’ houses and they’ve opened a bottle or two. My awareness of it was, frankly, mostly through podcast advertising. Adam, you mentioned you’ve kind of dug into the financials. From a non-business person’s perspective here, I would assume that the fundamental business proposition of something like Winc is that, through scale, you can acquire a lot of bulk juice, private label it, and sell it at a price that’s competitive with what most people are buying at a grocery store. Because it doesn’t have another retail presence, you’re not really competing with store brands or other affordably priced brands. That said, you are reliant on a subscription model, which feels fraught. What is going on with them? Does it seem like they are actually having success?
A: That’s what’s interesting. First of all, subscriptions have been trendy, especially in the world of VC, for the past 10 to 15 years, because there’s this belief that you get this Flywheel effect and that there’s recurring revenue. Winc wasn’t the only one. We have Blue Apron, for example. I think that there’s a lot of comparables in what you did see in the S-1s to Winc. There are kitchen startups we’ve talked about before. For a lot of these things, the idea is that, if we can get you into this churn, you won’t leave because of convenience. You are then incurring revenue that we can bank against all the time. The problem is that in a lot of these businesses, the cost per acquisition is very high. When we say cost per acquisition, we mean how much do you have to spend in advertising to get one customer? I remember when Blue Apron was like looking at $45 to $50 a customer. It was huge. They said their cost proposition was that, even though that was basically how much it would cost to get you in the door, they would make their money the second time when you ordered the next box. You ordered one. They lose money on it. The goal was to earn that back. The problem is that they were continually losing money. That’s why, once they finally got public, their stock price just tanked. With Winc, I think it’s a little bit of that. The goal with a company like this is that you need scale. The only way that you make money is if you get bigger and bigger. The question with Winc is, how big can the business get? How will they be able to continue to grow more customers?
Z: I want to ask you a question about this, Adam. You have to make an educated guess here, but do you think that they see their target audience as people who are buying Charles Shaw? Are they the people who are buying boxed wine? Are they going after that slice of the market? That’s a pretty big slice and it wouldn’t make sense to go after it. I would wonder if they’re trying to go after what their pricing model suggests, which is a little bit higher end of a customer. Are there that many people who truly want to be subscribed to a private label wine club forever? Do those people get tired of the Winc offerings after a little while and say, “If I’m spending $15 a bottle, I can get a lot of other things”?
A: Joanna, who do you think their customer is?
J: That’s a good question. I think that Winc is popular and successful because of the delivery of it. It’s less about the discovery. I think it’s more that you know that you have a box of wine coming to your house however often it will be coming.
A: What you guys are saying is, I think, what the market thought in terms of how Winc was going to be successful. If you look at their S-1s, Covid saved them. They actually weren’t doing that well prior to Covid. They also weren’t doing well in the way that we all thought was their core business model: that they were going to be a subscription wine club. Where they were making profit was by actually creating brands through the box. They have a few. They have a natural-ish wine brand now that they were then also placing in the stores.
Z: Oh, interesting.
A: That was a pivot that I think was happening inside the business. Again, this was prior to Covid. Covid really caused their business, when you look at their financials, to rebound. I think that’s why they must be trying to go public now. Their numbers look good at the moment and it’s time for the investors to get out. There’s not really going to be an opportunity to raise again, so they’re opting to go public. We’ll see if the market is easy or hard on them, or if they’re even able to get out. You see it all the time where people look at these S-1s and then say, “I don’t think I would pay the price when this thing goes public.” Then, the banks walk away and they never even take it public at the end of the day. It’s unclear. I thought that was what was really interesting. All of us probably assumed that their business model was subscription. It is, but the fact that these four or so brands they’ve created are really the profit drivers is really interesting. I wonder, is that a business in and of itself? Do we think there are opportunities for companies to create wine brands that ultimately then would get bought by the larger wine companies of the world? Is that what Gallo, Trinchero, and Constellation are looking for? I feel like they’re smart enough that they can create their own brands, but I don’t know.
Z: When we look at some of these brands that they might be competing against — these really large national or international brands — is there some value in a refresh? If we look at the history of that category, a new kind of dominant wine or wines emerge every so often that sweep away a lot of others. That market doesn’t seem to me to be super brand loyal as much as category loyal. Maybe Winc’s thinking, “If these brands get enough traction, maybe we can be replacing.” I don’t know if anyone is going to really ever replace Apothic Red, but it could happen. It wouldn’t shock me. Apothic Red came out of nowhere in the first place.
J: I guess I still just don’t know who is subscribing and what the retention is. Maybe people are brand loyal to Winc. Maybe that’s why it has been around for so long.
A: The other question is, do you think people are brand loyal to certain wines at that price point? .
J: Oh, I see. Yes, I do. I think people have favorites and they return to them over and over again, especially if it’s a solid, affordable wine.
A: Agreed. That’s what I think Winc was trying to do is create those brands. It was clearly sort of a side hustle pivot. Now, they go public, and we’ll see. Who knows? Next, we have a sort of quick hitter here. Let’s talk about the acquisition of Coppola. This one was surprising to me. I didn’t think they were for sale. Joanna and I recently talked to Francis on a different podcast for VinePair. I was surprised they sold. Any reactions from both of you?
J: I don’t know a ton about Delicato. What’s their thing?
A: I honestly don’t know, either. I know they’re a larger wine company, but unlike some of the other ones where I could tell you the brands, I don’t know. Some of these companies are just so famous. You knew, for example, that Constellation owned Meiomi, or you knew that Gallo owned Apothic and La Marca. I could not tell you what Delicato owns.
Z: The most famous thing that Delicato owns is Bota Box, which is an absolute monster.
A: Interesting. I didn’t know that. I’m not a Bota Box drinker. I don’t think I’ve ever had it.
Z: I’ve tried it before, but I’m not a regular drinker. Maybe we’ll have to try it on the podcast.
J: That’s a good one. Do we think Coppola was doing well? Not doing well? Is this going to be a marquee brand for Delicato?
A: With these, when it’s private, you never know. I just remember that it was a really big brand in the ’90s and early 2000s, and I really hadn’t heard about it in a while. I honestly do wonder if the name is still well-known enough that it’s worth the risk for a larger company to dump some marketing money into it and to see. Maybe the family thought, what’s the point of this anymore?
J: Didn’t he also just buy a new high end?
J: Maybe he though…
A: “I’m done with this.”
Z: My understanding of how the sale worked is that the Coppolas will retain Inglenook, which is the historic property in Napa, and their property in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This is mildly grim, but Francis isn’t exactly young. There are probably estate reasons, in part, to this. It’s a lot easier to navigate these kinds of sales when the principals are alive. You can sell these things off afterwards. Maybe someone in the family wants to continue to have a hand in it, but it’s totally plausible to me that that part of it that there’s value here. Maybe Delicato approached. Maybe they were quietly looking for buyers and wanted to take the load off their shoulders. From Delicato’s side, maybe there’s a real branding opportunity here, like you said. Maybe there’s a belief that with an outside influence, a little bit bigger operation, and some new blood, they can boost it back up. Some of it might just be as simple as getting a big, unwieldy company into the hands of a larger company that can handle it more than family.
A: Makes sense. OK, moving onto our next quick hit on the beverage side. Recently this week, Constellation announced that they are still really bullish in their growth projections. They’re going to be looking at a bunch of different opportunities. A lot of it’s going to come with many more acquisitions. What’s also interesting is that Constellation recently sold off all of its lower-end wines to Gallo. They’re clearly trying to go more high-end in the wine. They’re looking at more acquisitions in spirits and still a little bit in beer and seltzer. I’m curious, again, what do you think they’re doing here? Why is this happening now? Is there something that they feel like they’ve seen in the pandemic that would make them want to make all these moves?
J: Isn’t it just to be as big of a company as possible? To be a big mammoth of a brand and compete with Diageo?
Z: I think there’s something interesting in the idea of simultaneously divesting yourself of some brands and business in one part of the market and investing in another. The interesting thing to me here is that it seems like Gallo and Constellation are taking opposite sides of a wager here. Gallo is saying, “Hey, we think we can do more with these brands than you were doing.”
A: I think that’s 100 percent what they think.
Z: So much of the wine market, and much of the market in general, was weirdly supercharged during Covid because of a lot of money that the federal government put directly into people’s pockets. That really supported, and frankly, grew a lot of these consumer categories. The price point for wine ticked up because a lot of people had a little bit more money in their pockets and less to do with it. Gallo may be betting that, as things return to “normal,” people are going to return to a lower-price-point wine and want those things. Being positioned with those brands will be good. Constellation might be making the opposite side of the wager, saying, “We think that all this premiumization is sticking around. We think people who have gone from a $10 to a $15 or $15 to a $20 bottle of wine are not going back.” I don’t know that I think either one of them is inherently right or wrong. I think we will see. If I had to pick a side of that wager, I would lean slightly towards Gallo’s side of things. I think we’re in a little bit of a sugar high in the wine market right now, but I wouldn’t be confident in that bet.
A: If I was Gallo, I would trust myself to bring new people into wine and then trade them up throughout my business. I wouldn’t just assume that I’m going to finally get new customers just on my premium end, unless Constellation’s whole model is that they’re just going to buy those customers. When they bought The Prisoner, they basically bought Prisoner’s fans. I don’t know what Constellation’s done to expand The Prisoner to new people and get them to like The Prisoner. If you liked The Prisoner, you still like The Prisoner. If you didn’t like The Prisoner, I’m not sure that’s changing now that a new operator has it. Those are the things that I think make more sense in terms of what you’re saying, Zach. The bet I would take is the Gallo bet. Also, they’re the biggest wine company in the world at this point. I wouldn’t bet against them. Three more quick hits all at once. These are not related to beverage. Let’s talk media. There’s been some really big stuff that’s happened in the food and beverage media world over the past few months. There are three things in particular. We’ll hit two of these pretty quickly, and one we’ll go a little bit deeper on. Jancis Robinson decided to sell to a new private equity firm that is creating a suite of publications. What’s interesting in this regard is that she sold to a group that is mostly trying to revive old titles. These are not media operators, so who knows? The other is that Meredith is selling to IAC. That’s reported. It hasn’t gone through yet, but it’s going to be a massive deal. IAC has had an incredible track record when they bought media, even though it never seems to make sense. This one to most people is also a head scratcher, especially because they already own Dotdash, which is a very large SEO medium firm, but still has been successful. Most people think that’s because they’re an IPO. Third is The Infatuation selling to a bank, to J.P. Morgan. A lot of people are questioning why that happened. So, in terms of Jancis, do we have any reaction besides maybe that she’s just old and doesn’t have someone who could take this over? I couldn’t understand why she sold it.
J: I don’t know her numbers, her audience, or anything like that, but it’s got to be small. I’m guessing it’s small. Maybe this is an opportunity to, like you said, be a part of the suite of brands. What you’ve seen across a lot of publishers at a place like Condé Nast is using the resources across brands. That way, you have access to different resources for your publication.
A: Right. One sales team that sells across all publications. One marketing team.
J: They do copy editing, research, and all of it across brands. This could have been a great opportunity for that, for her.
A: That makes a lot of sense.
Z: You mentioned the end of an era idea, Adam. Jancis has people who work for her, but obviously the name of the website and the reputation is hers. I don’t know what you do with that if she stops writing or can’t write as much. We’ve seen other publications like Wine Advocate continue on, even after Robert Parker retired. He was not the sole reviewer for a long time, but I do think it makes sense if I were Jancis to decide that as someone who has deeper pockets, but also more avenues in which they can continue to keep this brand alive and maybe grow it, just makes more sense than trying to pass it on to a person or a small group of people.
A: You just brought up a really good point and I’m curious if either of you can think of an example. Can either of you think of media companies that are named after a person and have continued to do well after that person’s retirement, passing, et cetera. The reason Wine Advocate has continued is because he never named it Robert Parker. The name read, “Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate,” but it was really easy to take his name away and just call it the Wine Advocate. This is JancisRobinson.com. The only thing that I guess you could potentially say is similar is the Robb Report. Isn’t that named after someone named Robb? Can you think of any?
J: I can’t. I think there are brands that are obviously associated with one person.
Z: How about Martha Stewart? What will that be like?
J: Great example.
Z: She’s still active. I don’t know exactly how old Martha Stewart is. She’s bigger than Jancis, for sure. There’s also Oprah. These things exist, but those people are still at the head of them. So, I don’t know.
A: There’s Rachael Ray.
J: It’s a good question. What will happen? Will they continue to go on?
Z: I guess it’s good that you guys didn’t name it Adam Teeter and Josh Malin’s VinePair.
A: We don’t roll that way.
Z: That’s a little clunky on the masthead anyhow.
A: There’s the other two. The first is Meredith. I think that is pretty much proof that print’s over. Half of the titles were owned by Time, R.I.P. It’s just not the roaring days of print magazines anymore, where people had insane expense accounts and were flying private everywhere. It just doesn’t exist. I think a lot of these publications, including Meredith, didn’t really adapt. A lot of the revenue from so many titles now are event-based.
Z: Isn’t the most valuable property attached to Food & Wine probably all the festivals they do?
A: And probably Aspen, right? When Barry Diller’s been talking about buying it, Food & Wine hasn’t even been a publication that’s been said. It’s been other publications at Meredith that they’re more excited to get. They’re probably bigger and have a wider reach, too. We shall see. Maybe IAC believes they can make these publications truly digital. I think that’s the only reason he’s buying it. He sees an opportunity to take these titles and compete digitally. Most people think that when this happens, Dotdash, which is in the family, is going to IPO. It’s like Brides.com and a bunch of other platforms that they have, the biggest being The Spruce. That’s their most successful, which is an SEO media company that’s been really successful. Again, they’re private equity, so now they’re looking to tune up another group. Finally, there’s The Infatuation, which some people who listen to the podcast may not know because it’s much more of a New York media company. When I ask people in other cities, they’re not as familiar with it. It’s being bought by J.P. Morgan. This one’s interesting for a few reasons. One: Why sell now? That was a question that I got from a lot of people. A lot of people forget that they do restaurant reviews and they had a really hard Covid. No one’s going out to eat. No one’s reading about going out to eat.
J: It also all happened right after they acquired Zagat.
A: Yeah. I think they dumped a lot of money into Zagat. If you read the Wall Street Journal article, it says they clearly tried to raise some additional rounds of financing. Their private equity fund that had given them $30 million a few years ago clearly didn’t come back in. I think they were unable to raise, and they started looking for a buyer. This buyer’s really interesting because it’s a bank. Joanna, when you saw this, as someone who’s been in media for as long as I have, what did you think? If you’d been running a publication that was bought by a bank, what would you do?
J: Everything would just change, and it would be a completely different company. I know that they’re meant to retain independence in their creative direction, but things will change for them. It’s kind of like Resy, which is owned by American Express. It’s really just an added benefit for American Express cardholders.
A: Exactly. It’s really interesting. People hinted at that. They think Chase is trying to build a competitor. If you look at the world of credit cards, AMEX has the premium cardholder. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has been out for around six to eight years. That card became the up-and-coming or well-off millennial credit card that’s en vogue. They’re clearly trying to stay connected to that audience.
J: Infatuation, I think, does that really well.
A: I read a take recently that said what Chase is doing is buying the audience. When you go to their site, basically all you’re going to see is Chase content. I think they’ll probably stop a lot of major partnerships, because what’s the point? Chase doesn’t care about that kind of revenue anymore. They will use this audience to convert into card membership. There’s a prediction among a lot of people in media that this is going to become a trend in the next few years, where a lot of smaller media companies will get bought by tech companies, banks, real estate, et cetera, as a way to buy the audience as opposed to thinking through how much it costs to advertise on a platform for five years. These companies think, “Why don’t I just exploit this audience for five years? Once I’ve used up the audience, who really cares?” J.P. Morgan could have looked at this and said, “How much have we been spending on sites like The Infatuation to advertise in the last year? If we just pay the price and run this thing until it’s done, that’s fine. We’ve gotten our use out of it.” It’s kind of depressing.
J: It’s very depressing.
Z: Cynically, if you do that with some success, you’re probably in parallel launching another publication without a thin shell around marketing. You can just transition everything over to the new site or whatever it is, whether you buy it or start it yourself. I think there’s something about this idea of that rolling marketing campaign. This cycle is going to be The Infatuation. Who knows what comes after it? I want to ask you guys one one question that’s connected to this. It’s about these banks and credit card companies, in particular, that are looking at investments. How long before you see these places directly invested in not just things like Resy — which are platforms for people to make reservations and have experiences — and not just media publications, but literal, physical experiences? Maybe there are laws. I have no idea. But, what’s stopping Chase from buying, say, Coppola, and turning that into a Chase cardholders-only experience? Does that make any sense? Are we going to see that in this space? Or, does that become just inherently uncool because, even if they say it’s a winery, you’re going to a bank?
J: This is not the same at all, but at the U.S. Open, there were the American Express booths and exclusive cardholders-only experiences that people could access if they had American Express. Obviously, that’s not the same as an American Express-only winery, but people like exclusivity and things like that.
A: If AMEX has proven anything, that helps retain cardholders. They are not cutting back. They are expanding the Centurion Lounges. These are super-exclusive lounges in airports that you can’t walk into without a platinum card. I think a winery where the only people that can get the wine are cardholders and the only people that can visit the winery are cardholders is an option. A lot of wineries already sort of do that in their own membership. Scribe is a great example.
J: I was thinking of Scribe.
A: You can’t visit Scribe unless you’re a member. Who knows. Could Soho House open their own winery?
J: Oh, whoa. What an idea.
A: Maybe. Especially post-Covid, there’s just so much money at the very high end of the market. There are people who are just looking to spend it. To bring this full circle, that’s why a lot of this stuff has happened in the past few months. With all these transactions, there’s just so much money out there, which is crazy. For that group of people, they’re looking for as many amazing experiences as possible. You are at this point where there’s people looking for the ability to have opportunities that you cannot have unless you are at their level.
J: It’s luxury.
A: Exactly. I 100 percent think that could happen, which is kind of sad. Well, Zach, Joanna, this was great. Talk to you Friday. We’re talking about shots. I can’t wait.
J: Yes. Sounds good.
Z: Sounds great.
Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.
Now for the credits. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Washington, by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all of this possible, and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team, who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.
Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.