Screaming Eagle Winery And Vineyards
Screaming Eagle Winery And Vineyards are based in Napa Valley, California.
A Brief History of Screaming Eagle
Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards has been producing wine for less than thirty years and yet in this time it has become one of the most popular ‘cult’ wineries in America. In 1986, former real-estate agent Jean Phillips bought a 57 acre vineyard in the heart of the Napa Valley in California. Together with Tony Bowden, she founded the Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards.
Initially, the vineyard specialised in growing a selection of grapes for white varietals of wine, which were all sold to surrounding wineries. In 1992, Heidi Peterson Barrett (who had already made a name for herself at the Dalla Valle Vineyard) was brought on board as a wine maker. In this year a small 1 acre crop of Cabernet Sauvignon was grown and from this a small quantity of wine produced. The wine received extremely favourable reviews and, due to its small quantity, it commanded a surprisingly high price when it went on sale.
Following this early success, Screaming Eagle steadily began to replace the white crops with red varieties and continued to produce wine in small enough quantities to make it extremely popular in cult circles.
In 2006, the Screaming Eagle Winery & Vineyards were sold to Charles Banks and Stanley Kroenke; Banks subsequently left the winery in the sole hands of Kroenke in 2009. Today, the winery continues to produce between 400 and 600 cases of wine every year and it continues to be popular with connoisseurs and collectors alike.
A Collector’s Guide
There are a number of organisations on the internet that are dedicated to collectors of wine such as Screaming Eagle. Those wishing to purchase new bottles can opt to join the waiting list on the winery’s own website. Joining this list opens members up to news and updates from Screaming Eagle, before they are moved to the active list. Once on this list, wine is allocated on a first come, first serve basis with a cap of three bottles per person. This process can take several years to come to completion.
Fine Wine Collector is a website specialising in information and collection of Californian cult wines, though they do also feature a limited amount of information on wines from outside of this region. Wine Watch is a website that combines features such as articles, information and reviews of a variety of wines with the option to purchase wine, including Screaming Eagle.
A website that has become extremely popular in collecting circles and has been referred to as the ‘eBay of wine’ by CNet News is VinFolio. This site provides extensive advice to both seasoned and new collectors as well as a selection of reviews and articles on a variety of wines. The site also provides access to a whole host of private and auction sales of wines including Screaming Eagle on a regular basis.
Notable Auction Sales
Due to its limited production numbers, Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon can be found for a large variety of prices at auction, through a range of auction houses. The Chicago Wine Company has held a selection of sales of Screaming Eagle over the years for a range of prices. Some examples are a bottle of ’93 vintage, which in February 1998 sold for $500, a ’92, which was sold for $850 in December 1999 and another ’93, which was sold for $1,750 in November 2002.
Heritage Auctions has held a number of sales of the popular Cabernet Sauvignon more recently. Some examples of sales from this house are a ’05, which was sold for $1,792.50 and a ’02, which was bought for $1,912, both on 16/06/2011. On 24/09/2011, two bottles of ’96 were bought for $3,107 and on 24/09/2011, two bottles of ’97 were bought for $5,676.25.
Prices such as these are not uncommon for bottles of Screaming Eagle wine sold at auction. At the 2000 Napa Valley Wine Auction (an event raising money for various charities), however, a 6 Litre Imperial bottle of 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon broke the record at the time for the most expensive bottle of wine sold at auction. This bottle was bought by a retired Silicon Valley businessman for $500,000.
Whilst collectors shouldn’t expect to have to pay quite this much for a bottle of Screaming Eagle, it nonetheless remains an exceptionally popular wine today. There are several options available for those wishing to purchase a bottle, but there is a difficult choice between a several year wait or a higher auction price.
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