Harry & David, where you can buy pears for $3.50 each, is getting into the wine business. Entry-level for the H&D Wine Club is $780 a year, in exchange for which you will get 36 more-or-less $20 bottles of wine. If you prefer to receive only wines rated 90 points or above, the tab is $1,260, or $35 a bottle. Included in the first 90-point shipment: 2007 Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, which retails for about $25.
For as long as written records have been kept, Penfold’s Grange ($550) has been the most expensive Australian wine. No longer. Torbreck has launched The Laird, a Barossa Valley shiraz aged in “magic casks,” at $700 a bottle. In 2012 Penfolds will respond with Bin 620, a Cabernet-Shiraz blend that the company says will cost more than Grange.
Finally, for their 2008 vintages, both Lafite and Mouton will feature labels by Chinese designers. Lafite went first, announcing that it would emboss each label with the Chinese number “8,” which is “particularly auspicious ” to the superstitious among Chinese. (Roughly the equivalent of “7″ in the U.S.) In 48 hours after the announcement, the price of Lafite in China jumped 17%. Mouton counters with artist Xu Lei, who seems to like the color blue. No word on price increases for the Mouton, but I, personally, will not be surprised.