Peter Eastlake, who curates the wine tent at the outside lands music festival, loves tracking down great values. Here, his picks for everyday drinking and summer entertaining.
For almost a decade, you’ve only carried wines under $25 in your East Bay stores, Vintage Berkeley. Has finding good inexpensive wines gotten harder?
I’d say the number of good wines under $25 has actually increased. Even Pinot Noir. Today, I’m able to stock six or seven Pinots at $18 to $25 that are really good: site-expressive, great-quality wines, like the 2013 Luli from the Santa Lucia Highlands or the 2013 Banshee from Sonoma County. I could not find those wines nine years ago.
Bargain Pinot that’s good? Who’s making these?
The assistant winemakers and cellar rats of 10 years ago, much of the time. They don’t own vineyards, they don’t have mortgages, they’re making wines at custom-crush facilities—and in the end, they can get wine onto shelves at a better price.