The increase in the popularity of wine over the last 10 years is staggering. Now people not only drink wine, they discuss and read about it, collect it, even play the one up game with it. With all this interest, guess where prices have gone. UP UP UP!
Take California cabernets. A few years ago at your local wine shop, only a few California Cabs were priced over $60. Now check out the same shelf. Lots of wines, many that may not be that good, are $100 or more. What's the deal? How do you know what to buy?
A few years ago on a trip to Napa, I was introduced to Karen Williams and David Stevens, who own Acme Fine Wines in St Helena. Acme specializes in finding and selling small production wines that rarely leave the Napa area. They know all the local wine makers and have an amazing ability to choose very high quality and delicious wine.
Now the good part: Many of these really good wines are in the $40-$70 range. I have found that most of their selections are better value than what you have been buying wherever you live. Also (the really good part), when you serve their wine, nobody will have ever tasted it before. Thus, your wine status will be on the rise. My suggestion is to check them out. You will not be disappointed.