Acme Fine Wines, in St. Helena, is a California wine-jungle supply tunnel for hunters of the next undiscovered trophy wine. Not every wine they sell is still under the radar screen or high in value-to-quality measures, as evidenced by the Harlan sitting on their showcase shelve of hand procured bottles. Also, not all their inventory will eventually achieve trophy status. But it is a place where oenophiles serve oenophiles craving an inside track to the next great thing.
While I normally stay away from anything that even hints at propping up trophy wine mania, I was taken by the sincerity of once customer, then intern, and now Sales Consultant Scot Wagner during the couple hours I spent uncovering the Acme story with him. Their business, thanks to the established Valley reputation of founders Karen Williams, provides an insider’s channel to regular, on-location, high powered, top wine maker tastings, storage lockers and shipping services for out of town clients, focused clubs providing regular shipments of hard to find, undiscovered, and impressive wine all with high touch customer service.
Their secret sauce is in the local reputations and relationships of the operators that motivate established and wannabe wine maker celebs to channel some distribution through Acme. I was referred there by a favorite artisan wine maker as a place to reliably source quality new and limited supply wine. On that recommendation and Scot’s apparent knowledge I bought six different recommended 2007 Napa Cabernets, all completely new to me, so I could install them in an upcoming blind tasting for our group of wine savvy east coast winos that are more than an arm’s reach from deep Napa connection. Another friend of mine in the Valley who just released his first red wine and third vintage of Rosé brought some samples for the visit which will now run through the same discerning process the Acme team uses to determine a large percentage of their stock; blind tasting in peer groups. The outcome of those tastings determine whether they will inventory a wine or suggest the wine maker return with more bottles from the next vintage.
You can visit them in St. Helena, buy from Acme online, or join one of their four clubs which include:
- Do It Yourself: A customized shipment of varietals, regions, and wine categories that you set as guidelines within your own established budget every month just for you.
- The Big Kahuna $500/month maximum: The top 3 wines the Acme team tastes each month out of a group of 200 wines. All wines in limited supply and club membership is limited to 60 people. An inside path to regular tastes of great stuff.
- Pulse $125/month: Originally designed to serve the local Napa wine industry to help them keep their fingers on the pulse of the most interesting things going on locally and around the world, the club is now open to consumers to receive two to three bottles every month of really interesting stuff.
- Under the Radar $125/month: This club gets to the heart of Acme’s positioning and value proposition. You get two bottles of domestic red wine per month, often from California and first releases, with a chance to reorder before the wine is released to their wider client base. Here is where you can latch onto the next really great wine before it is more widely discovered.
I like Acme’s vibe, mission, and serene Zen-like space in St. Helena. I do not belong to wine clubs, do not support wine maker celebrity, and reject the unsupportable price escalation that the California wine industry drove over the last decade. Yet, for me, Acme has carved out a legitimate space in those environments and appears to make participation selective, easy, tolerable, and rewarding.
ACME Fine Wines, LLC
1080 Fulton Lane St. Helena, CA 94574
888.963.0440 or email@example.com