Imagine a scenario for me...you walk in to Target (or Wal-mart, K-mart, Macy's, etc) to buy a few things. You can't find your favorite brand of socks, so you decide to ask for help. "Excuse me, do you have the Hanes socks in my size? I can't seem to find them"

The Salesperson replies, "No, I'm sorry, we're all out of the Hanes socks. But, I do have Hanes Under-shirts, and Hanes Boxers"

Does that seem at all ridiculous to you? Because it would to me. If they don't have the specific socks that I'm looking for, I'd hope they show me other socks that are similar. If I'm looking for socks, why would I care about the boxers or undershirts? Or what if you walked into the grocery store, and couldn't find the shampoo you usually buy, but the person stocking the shelves recommended the hairspray made by the same company.

So, if that scenario doesn't work with other industries, why does it happen with wine? I can't tell you how many times a customer has asked me for, say, Robert Mondavi (or Blackstone, Woodbridge, Cavit, etc) Cabernet. If I'm out of stock, they say, "oh well, the Robert Mondavi Pinot Grigio will do." What?! Why would someone buy a completely different type of wine, just because it's made by the same company?!

Here's my point, just because a winery produces really good cabernet, they don't necessarily make good chardonnay, merlot, or pinot noir. Maybe their vineyards are best for cabernet, and they make great cabernet, but their pinot noir is awful. As a matter of fact, when you explore highly acclaimed wines, most of the time they only make a single type of wine, or at least narrow it down to a few types of grapes. For example, Caymus makes Cabernet, Belle Glos make Pinot Noir, Domaine Carneros makes pinot noir, Dominus makes a red blend, the list goes on and on.

If I'm out of the cabernet you like, wouldn't you like to see other cabernets that you might like? If I'm out of the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that you came in for, wouldn't you like to see other Pale Ales that you might like? If you asked for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and I replied "I'm all out, but here's the Sierra Nevada Stout" you'd look at me like I was crazy.

I have several wines in the store that I love, such as BR Cohn Olive Hill Cabernet. I think their Olive Hill Cabernet is one the best California cabs we have to offer. But I think their other cabernet is mediocre. I'm a huge fan of the Montinore Pinot Noir, but that doesn't mean I like the Montinore white wines. The Cali-Belgie beer from Stone Brewing Company is one of my favorite American made brews, but I don't like most of their other beers at all.

My point is, when you find a wine you enjoy, don't presume you're going to like the other wines from that brand. Every producer has something they do really well, and some things that aren't as good. If you like Chardonnay, try other chardonnays; if you like Merlot, experiment with other merlots. If you like the Moscato from Barefoot, I've got a dozen other Moscato's you should try, long before you branch out into the Barefoot red wines.

So I express my motto, "Buy the bottle, not the brand!"