Wine Futures: So Good You Can Taste It

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Wine lovers will get their chance to stock up on half-priced pinot and marked-down merlot this weekend.

    The 2009 vintage isn't even ready to bottle, but Sonoma County wineries are letting people sample it right from the barrel. And if you like what you taste you can buy it at bargain prices. It's called buying on the futures market.

    "It's a good way to lock in some good quality wines at a good price," said Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Wine Grape Commission.

    But those who invest in the 2009 futures are certain to be toasting to their good fortune. Not only will they get a great price, the 2009 vintage is expected to be the best in a decade.

    Frey says last year's growing conditions couldn't have been better.

    "It was nearly ideal. It was never too hot. It was fairly mild temperatures and the quality was just exceptional," he said.

    And though the wine still has months yet to age before its ready to go to market, people like how it's shaping up.

    "From the taste of it, it's going to be above and beyond anything we've had before," said Barbara Madden, who spent Friday barrel tasting at Balletto Winery in Sonoma County.

    Madden's already bought six cases and she still has dozens of wineries left to visit.

    "They're just so drinkable," she said.

    And the wine, will only get better with time. 106 wineries in Sonoma County are offering barrel tasting through Sunday.